Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz
CNN reports on the first gold, the first of hopefully eight gold medals, won by Michael Phelps.
The Columbus Telegram has the same story with some additional details.
Basically, the idea is that Michael Phelps is in a position to break Mark Spitz’ record of seven gold medals in a single Olympic games. That was in Munich in 1972. Wikipedia has a good article on it, including the following paragraph describing the incredible advancements in world record times in swimming:
Then, at age 41, Spitz attempted a comeback for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics after film maker Bud Greenspan offered him a million dollars if he succeeded in qualifying. Filmed by Greenspan’s cameras, Spitz failed to beat the qualifying limit, despite his times being nearly as good as (and in some cases better than) his medal-winning times 20 years earlier. But the sport had moved on during the intervening years and Spitz was well out of it.
Here at Rediff.com are some interesting details about how Mark Spitz was effected by the Palestinian attack at Munich.
Belatedly Olympic security officials realised Spitz was a Jew and, after his record gold medal haul, a prime target.
He was still in the Olympic village watching the drama unfold when a group of U.S. Olympic Committee officials came in the room and said they were sending him home.
Mark Spitz was the greatest athlete of his day. Plus he was present at the darkest hour in Olympic history. Today, Michael Phelps is up at bat, so to speak. Despite the fact that, as the Wikipedia article points out, “the sport has moved on,” if Michael Phelps has the nerves of steel that Mark Spitz had in 1972, he too will go down in the history books as the greatest athlete of his day.
It was Phelps’ 10th career gold medal, breaking a tie with Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis and two others for most golds. He is 4-for-4 so far, setting world records in each of his events.
Michael Phelps made it 6-for-6 at the Beijing Olympics, closing in on Mark Spitz with another world-record swim Friday morning.