ESPN Classic to Air Replay of Spitz’s 7 Gold Medals

  9 Braden Keith | September 10th, 2012 | Featured, National, News

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:

  1. Very few swim caps
  2. A lot of arm-winding and belly-flopping at the start of races
  3. Virtually no under-water swimming
  4. Bucket-turns on backstroke (as compared to modern flipturns)
  5. Still lots of tricep-on-lat slapping
  6. Phelps’ moustache would have still been in style
  7. 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.

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9 Comments on "ESPN Classic to Air Replay of Spitz’s 7 Gold Medals"

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4 years 1 month ago

There were lots of other differences, too. The smaller lane lines, shallower pools, totally different breastroke technique, to name a few. Also the virtually all the butterflies, including Spitz, were way more vertical throughout their races.

4 years 1 month ago

when is this?

4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the heads up on this. The first Olympics I remember watching when I was young. Be sure to take a look at the other sports as well. Dramatic changes across the board and a whole lot of politics and Iron Curtain drama as well. I am watching controversial USA vs. USSR basketball game right now. They show the replay of that game a couple of times during the 24 hour marathon. Try and catch the 20 minutes of that replay if you have never seen it or heard the story. Interesting stuff and very, very old school.

4 years 1 month ago

I enjoy watching this… But i can’t believe NBC is giving us such a big delay. 40 years!?! Im tired of this NBC olympic tape delay stuff.

4 years 1 month ago

Thanks for the tip. DVR is set. First Olympics that I remember as an 8 year old. Looking forward to watching with my teenage swimmers.

cynthia curran
4 years 1 month ago

Well, because I swam in that era I rarely used caps in meets and I only used googles in workouts. When I did about 3 meets in Masters swimming in 2002,2003, and 2004 I swam without the googles in a meet since I was afraid they would pop off. Probably a lot of high school teams still use the old technique if they have a huge number of swimmers that only swim in the high school season or maybe summer league swimming is another that uses the older swimming techniques. Mark Spitz as a high school swimmer did under 50 seconds he still can beat the majority of high school swimmers today.

Mirror Traffic
4 years 1 month ago

Mark Spitz in 1972 vs. the female gold medal winners in London:

100m free – Spitz: 51.22 Kromowidjojo: 53.00
200m free – Spitz: 1:52.78 Schmitt: 1:53.61
100m fly – Spitz: 54.27 Vollmer: 55.98
200m fly – Spiez: 2:00.70 Liuyang: 2:04.06


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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