Today, Brazil is announcing their World Championship team heading to Budapest this summer. Including 9-time Olympic Champion Mark Spitz, domestic rights holder SportTV already has their broadcasting team set in place. This summer we will find Spitz summarizing each finals session directly from Budapest for Sport TV – a sports-oriented Portuguese-language broadcasting network.
With 9 Olympic gold medals, 67-year-old Spitz is still one of the biggest names in swimming of all time. Who hasn’t seen the iconic Mark Spitz poster with a shirtless Spitz wearing all his Olympic medals? We’ve all been to age group meets where some hot shot 10 year old tries to replicate the spitz photo with a proud mom and dad clicking away. Spitz started all that. It was his gift to the next generation and it keeps on giving. Hair styles have changed since then, but the message is still the same: “I am unbeatable.” He was the Michael Phelps before Michael was even on our radar, and he is no rookie to Sport-commentating. Spitz worked with SportTV during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in their award-winning “É Campeão” program. He also previously worked with ABC sports and covered the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Spitz will be joined by Milton Leite, Mariana Brochado, Alexandre Pussieldi, Alexandre Oliveira, Edgar Alencar. Spitz is not alone in accomplishments – each member of this team has considerable experience. This will be Milton Leite’s second world championships with SportTV. Mariana Brochado competed in the 2003 and 2005 swimming world championships, and commentated for SportTV at the 2015 Kazan World Championships and 2016 Rio Olympics. Alexandre Pussieldi will be commentating his 10th World Championships for SportTV. Edgar Alencar covered the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada.
With One of America’s best returning to the swimming scene, it is easy to forget there was a period when Spitz was absent from pool deck. Spitz was not invited to the Olympic Games in Beijing, despite being voted one of the top 5 Olympians of all time. While Phelps was attempting to break Spitz’ 7-gold-medal-in-one-Games record, Spitz found himself sitting at home watching from his couch. “I never got invited. You don’t go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am. . . . I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously? That’s almost demeaning to me. It is not almost—it is.” This summer, Spitz will find himself back on pool deck. His role will be different than what it was 45 years ago – but we are excited to watch him excel on a different platform. For those of us who were not lucky enough to witness him in his previous era of medals and world records – the chance to witness him in action again should be worth translating Portuguese to English on our smartphones. Tune at the end of July to see the legend back near the pool, where he started.