Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mark Spitz & Michael Phelps - American Kings Of The Pool

Here’s an Olympic tribute to Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. They are two of America’s greatest Olympic swimmers. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.


Mark Andrew Spitz (born February 10, 1950, in Modesto, California) is a two-time American Olympic swimmer.

Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won 9 Olympic gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze, 5 Pan American golds, 31 National US Amateur Athletic Union titles and 8 US National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.

During those years, he set 33 world records. He was named World Swimmer Of The Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972.

When he was two years old, Spitz's family moved to Hawaii, where he learned to swim. At age six his family returned to Sacramento, California and he began to compete at his local swim club.

At nine, he trained at Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento with Sherm Chavoor, a swimming coach who mentored six other Olympic medal winners.

At 10, he held 17 national age-group and one world record.

From 1964 to 1968 Spitz studied in Santa Clara High School and held national high school records in every stroke and distance.

In 1967, he established a record, winning five gold medals at the 5th Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. His record stood for 40 years.

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Spitz won two golds, the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle.

Spitz subsequently entered Indiana University to train with legendary coach Doc Counsilman, who was also his coach in Mexico City.

In 1971, he won the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

He was nicknamed Mark The Shark by his team mates.

At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (West Germany), Spitz won seven Olympic gold medals and set a new world record in each of the seven events he took part in.

His participation in the Munich Olympics gained him a bit of notoriety as he swam with a moustache.

Spitz is one of four Olympians to win nine career gold medals.

Spitz entered the International Swimming Hall Of Fame in 1977 and the International Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame in 1979.

Spitz also dabbled in acting and appeared in The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson in the mid-1970s.

He also became a sports presenter on American television.

He has hailed Michael Phelps as the greatest Olympic athlete of today.


Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer and 11-time Olympic Gold medalist who holds world records in several events.

Phelps won eight medals in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece which tied him with Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin for the most medals of any type in any one Olympics.

Phelps has won 13 Olympic medals (eleven gold, two bronze): eight at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens (six gold, two bronze) and five at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (all gold).

He has the most gold medals for any Olympic athlete of the modern Olympic era.

Phelps' international titles, along with his various world records, have resulted in him being awarded the World Swimmer Of The Year Award in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007 and American Swimmer Of The Year Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Phelps has won 45 career medals: 37 golds, 6 silvers and 2 bronzes.

Phelps was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland.

His father, Fred Phelps worked for the Maryland State Police and his mother, Debbie Davisson is a school principal.

His elder sisters, Whitney and Hilary were also swimmers.

In his youth, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

He started swimming at seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his restless energy.

He blossomed quickly as a swimmer, and by 10 held a national record for his age group.

More age group records followed and Phelps' rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15.

In November 2004, at 19, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty and was fined US$250.

Between 2004 and 2008, Phelps attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying sports marketing and management.

Phelps eats around 12,000 calories a day, six times more than the average adult male. He swims up to four hours a day.

As a teenager, Phelps trained at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman.

At 15, Phelps competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, becoming the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years.

Five months after the Sydney Olympics, Phelps broke the world record in the 200m butterfly to become the youngest man ever to set a swimming world record.

He then broke his own record at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Phelps' dominance has brought comparisons to former swimming great Mark Spitz.

In 2004 he won his first Olympic gold in the 400m individual medley, setting another new world record.

At the 2007 World Championships, Phelps won seven gold medals and broke five world records. He co-founded the Swim With The Stars programme which promotes swimming and conducts camps for swimmers of all ages.