“Who Is This Mark Spitz Guy”- 15-Years-Old Michael Phelps Denied Having Heard About Swimming Legend Before Breaking His Olympic Record in 2008

Published 11/21/2022, 12:30 PM EST

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Michael Phelps has won 28 medals in the Olympics. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals and broke Michael Spitz’s record for the highest number of wins. A viral video captured this historic moment accurately.

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Mark Spitz is a swimmer who participated in the Olympics 9 times. He won 7 medals at the 1972 Olympic games. When 15-year-old Michael Phelps began to participate in the Olympics swimming, he was unaware of Mark Spitz’s record. An interview shows an interesting talk where Michael Phelps spoke about Mark Spitz.

Michael Phelps’s candid views on Michael Spitz

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During an interview in 2001, 15-year-old Michael Phelps once asked, “Who is this Mark Spitz guy and why do they keep asking me about him?” At the time, Phelps had just broken a world record in the 200m butterfly race at the World Aquatic Championships.

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Later, Michael Phelps found out that Mark Spitz was a legendary swimmer. In an interview, he candidly gave his views on Spitz. “He’s been the icon of swimming”, Phelps said. He also said that Spitz changed the sport of swimming and he was also trying to do the same.

After winning in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he spoke openly about breaking Michael Spitz’s record. He said that though Spitz’s record was broken, what Spitz did will still be incredible. “Never once will I downplay his accomplishment by any means…what he did still is an amazing feat”, he said.

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It is also interesting that there are many similarities between Michael and Mark. Both American swimmers learned to swim at a very young age. They also participated in the Olympics at an early age. When Phelps participated in his first Olympics at 19, Spitz competed in his first Olympics when he was 18 years old.

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What is the Swimming Star Doing at Present?

Currently, Michael stays in Arizona with his wife, and his 3 sons. He is a part of the organization Medibo which researches mental health disorders. Phelps has also launched a partnership with Kidshealth.org where he speaks about mental health.

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Watch Now: Swimming Legend Michael Phelps Top 5 Career Races 

Michael Phelps’s views on Spitz once again lead to the comparison of both legends. How do you think these legends match up and who is your favorite among them?

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Written by:

Priya Hinduja

477Articles

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Priya Hinduja is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. Post pursuing her Master's Degree in English, she worked as an English language trainer at Osmos Club and also dabbled with marketing at Debugee Technologies Pvt Ltd for a year. With a keen interest in playing chess and badminton in her leisure time, she also follows the activities of Michael Phelps, whose story motivates and inspires her.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Kumar

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