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He'd 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, and he began to compete at his local swim club.
Spitz also set a number of world records during the U. Olympic Swim Trials held in Chicago's Portage Park in 1972.
He was nicknamed "Mark the Shark" by his teammates.
Between 19, Spitz won nine Olympic golds, a silver, and a bronze; five Pan American golds; 31 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) titles; and eight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles.
During those years, he set 35 world records, but two were in trials and unofficial.
Originally, Spitz was reluctant to swim the 100-meter freestyle, fearing a less-than-gold medal finish.At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (West Germany), Spitz was back to maintain his bid for the six gold medals.He did even better, winning seven Olympic gold medals.A poster featuring Spitz wearing his swimsuit and seven gold medals made him the hottest pin-up since Betty Grable.Spitz's TV debut was appearing in a skit as himself as a dentist on a Bob Hope special that aired October 5, 1972.