When he was a child, Mark Spitz was often told by his father that "swimming isn't everything, winning is". Spitz must have made his father proud when he won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics, the only athlete ever to do so at a single Games.
Four years earlier when Spitz was competing in the 1968 Mexico Olympics the brash 18-year-old had predicted that he would win gold medals in all the six events he was entered in. But he returned home with only two — in the relays and an individual silver and bronze. In Munich, Spitz erased the memory of that disappointment in the very first final he swam — the 200 m butterfly. He set a new world record in the process.
Over the next 8 days of competition, with only one rest day in between, Spitz swam 13 races, including the heats. He set world records in every final he swam — including three relay races. He equalled the record of Paavo Nurmi, Larissa Latynina and Carl Lewis, with a total Olympic haul of nine gold medals.
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