Mark Spitz

By Keith Bottum and Aaron Bass

For our Olympic hero, we picked Mark Spitz. Mark Spitz was possibly one of the best swimmers there every was. Even as a child, he won many medals, however the crown point of his career was when he won seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics.

Mark competed in the 1968 Olympics. Prior to the Olympics, he had boasted that he would be able to win six gold medals! His teammates always thought that he was a little cocky, and didn't appreciated his boasting. However, he really didn't win very much. The two gold medals he got were for team competitions. By himself, he only won two medals, neither of them gold medals. In the one-hundred meter butterfly he won a silver medal. In the one-hundred meter free-style, he won a bronze. In the two-hundred meter free-style he came in last!

At eighteen years old, Mark went to Indiana University. He trained there all four years of college. Most of the other swimmers thought that he was a bragger and also a jerk. He never got along very well with his teammates, and whenever he walked out to the pool, he would boast and put the rest of the team down. He did this because he considered himself better then all of them. As a result, they never really liked him, and weren't sympathetic if he lost. However, after the 1968 Olympic Games, he started behaving better, and his teammates grew to like him a lot. This may have helped him win the 1972 Olympics.

Then, at age twenty-two, in 1972, he made history. At the Olympics, he won seven gold medals and broke another seven world records. He won the one-hundred meter butterfly, the two-hundred meter butterfly, the one-hundred meter free-style, the two-hundred free-style, the four-hundred meter free-style, the eight-hundred meter free-style, and the four-hundred meter medley relay.

Then, however, his triumph went sour. Just a few hours after his last race ended, some Arab terrorists came and killed twelve Jews. Mark Spitz, being Jewish, was hastily flown out of Germany, where the Olympic Games were, back to the United States. Luckily, he made it back okay.

After winning so many medals, Mark decided to retire.

Bibliography

To the Ligon Home Page

For information on the 1996 Olympics, click here

By Aaron Bass and Keith Bottum, from Ligon G/T Magnet Middle School, in Raleigh, North Carolina