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

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 9

September 10th, 2012 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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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.


when is this?


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.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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