Mark Andrew Spitz is an American former competitive swimmer, nine-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in seven events. He won seven medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, an achievement surpassed only by Michael Phelps. Spitz set new records in all seven events in which he competed in 1972. Spitz holds more medals than any other Jewish athlete in the history of the Olympics. Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic golds, a silver, and a bronze, five Pan American golds,31 Amateur Athletic Union titles, during those years, he set 35 world records, but two were in trials and unofficial. He was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969,1971 and he was the third athlete to win nine Olympic gold medals. Spitz was born in Modesto, California, the first of three children of Lenore Sylvia and Arnold Spitz and his family is Jewish, his fathers family was from Hungary and his mothers, originally surnamed Sklotkovick, were from Russia. When he was two old, Spitzs family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he swam at Waikiki beach every day. You should have seen that little boy dash into the ocean, hed run like he was trying to commit suicide, Lenore Spitz told a reporter for Time in 1968. At age six, his family returned to Sacramento, California, at age nine, he was training at Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento with swimming coach Sherm Chavoor, who mentored seven Olympic medal winners including Spitz. Spitz held one world record and 17 national records at the age of 10. His family moved to Santa Clara, where Spitz joined the Santa Clara Swim Club and received training from coach George F. Haines, from 1964 to 1968, Mark trained with Haines at SCSC and Santa Clara High School. During his four years there, Mark held national high school records in every stroke, in 1966 at age 16, he won the 100-meter butterfly at the AAU national championships, the first of his 24 total AAU titles. The following year, Mark set his first world record at a small California meet in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 4,10.60, the 1965 Maccabiah Games was his first international competition. At age 15 in Tel Aviv, Spitz won four medals and was named the most outstanding athlete. He returned to Israel in 1969 following the Mexico Olympics to again compete in the Maccabiah Games and this time, he won six gold medals. He was again named outstanding athlete of the Games, in 1985, Spitz lit a torch to open the Maccabiah Games. In 2005, he was a member of the U. S. delegation at the 17th Maccabiah Games and he spoke at the JCC Maccabiah Games Opening Ceremonies, which was held in Richmond, Virginia
Spitz in December 2012
Jacket worn by Mark Spitz during the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Mark Spitz, throwing first pitch at a baseball game (2008)