Day 48: Today’s Olympian: Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz (1950 – present) – swimmer

Day52_mark_spitzIn 1972 the Olympics returned to Germany for the first time since Hitler ruled, nearly 35 years. After winning 6 gold medals swimming for the US Team in the Olympics in Mexico City in 1968, athlete Mark Spitz was back for more. During the 1972 games in Munich, Spitz topped his previous performance by setting a new world record in each of the seven events he competed in making him one of only 5 athletes with more than 9 Olympic Gold Medals. After his final victory he was quickly Day52_olympic_ringsevacuated when 11 Israeli athletes and officials were kidnapped and  killed by Palestinian terrorists. Officials worried Spitz would be targeted because of his Jewish heritage. His record of winning 7 gold medals in a single Olympics was unbroken until the performance of Michael Phelps in 2008.

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