Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mark Spitz's muse

Jerry Heidenreich won 2 golds, a silver and a bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals but Mark Spitz also feared Jerry Heidenreich and credited Heidenreich for making him the best swimmer in the world . From the article:
  • After winning his fifth gold medal in Munich, Mark Spitz considered withdrawing from his final individual race. One reason was that he felt he needed rest for the 400-meter medley relay. Another was that Spitz – whose father, Arnold, often said, "Swimming isn't everything; winning is" – didn't believe he could beat U.S. teammate Jerry Heidenreich in the 100 freestyle."Six gold medals is better than six golds and a silver," Spitz said. But Spitz's coach, Sherm Chavoor, called him a chicken and warned that he might be left off the relay if he didn't swim the 100. Spitz swam, setting a world record in 51.22 seconds. Heidenreich was second in 51.65. [Link]
Post Olympics Heidenreich had a bad second act due familial tragedies and issues with alcohol, among other vices, ultimately leading to stroke and then suicide. Besides his Olympic accomplishments he left behind his personal swimming creed called the: 21 Top Laws of Swimming. [Link]

I found these articles at [Link]