Want an appreciation of how far the sport of swimming has come in the last 40 years? Check out ESPN Classic on Tuesday, as they will be running a 24-hour replay of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
That includes, from 9-10 AM and 9-10 PM, a replay of Mark Spitz’s 7 gold medals, which stood as the standard until 2008 when the great Michael Phelps took 8.
Differences you’ll notice between now and then:
- Very few swim caps
- A lot of arm-winding and belly-flopping at the start of races
- Virtually no under-water swimming
- Bucket-turns on backstroke (as compared to modern flipturns)
- Still lots of tricep-on-lat slapping
- Phelps’ moustache would have still been in style
- Nylon suits
It won’t show up on the video, but tapers were also much shorter back then.
The 1972 games, both with Spitz’s endeavors and beyond them, were arguably the most memorable in history. Click here to read the highlights.