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Mark Spitz
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Mark Spitz

Mark Andrew Spitz (born February 10, 1950) is an American swimmer. His father is American and his mother is Puerto Rican. He holds the record for most medals won in a single Olympics (seven), which he set at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany (his 7th was won on September 4).

In 1968, Mark Spitz participated in his first Olympic Games in Mexico City. Together with his teammates, Spitz won two titles: the 4 x 100 m freestyle and the 4 x 200 m freestyle relays. In addition, Spitz finished second in the 100 m butterfly and third in the 100 m freestyle. In spite of the successes, Spitz was disappointed, as he had announced a bid for five gold medals, after he had accomplished that feat at the 1967 Pan American Games.

Four years later, in Munich, Spitz got his revenge. In West Germany, he won seven Olympic gold medals, a feat yet unequalled by any other Olympic athlete. Even more remarkably, Spitz set a new world record in each of the seven events (the 100 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle, 100 m butterfly, 200 m butterfly, 4 x 100 m freestyle, 4 x 200 m freestyle and the 4 x 100 m medley).

Still only aged 22, Spitz retired from swimming after the Munich Games. However, at age 41, Spitz attempted to make a comeback in an attempt to qualify for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, after film maker Bud Greenspan had offered to pay him a million dollars if he succeeded in qualifying. Filmed by Greenspan's cameras, Spitz failed to beat the qualifying limit.

For more on famous Puerto Ricans see List of Puerto Ricans.

See also