Before Michael Phelps, there was Mark Spitz. The American swimmer dominated the swimming competition in the 1972 Munich Olympics, winning seven gold medals and setting a world record each time. His seven-gold haul was a record that would last for 36 years, broken by Phelps in Beijing. Spitz actually started competing in the 1968 Mexico Games, where he fell flat after boldly predicting he would win six gold medals and limping home with only two golds, a silver and a bronze. He also finished last in one event to add to his below-par performance.
Humbled by his failure to back up his boast, Spitz was determined to make amends in Munich. Swimming in the seven events over a tight schedule of eight days proved to be no problem for Spitz, and he easily ruled the 100m and 200m butterfly, and 100m and 200m freestyle, and was also part of the US relay teams in the 4x100 medley, 4x200 freestyle, and 4x100 freestyle. (Source: Olympic.org)
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