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Jewish Athlete Breaks World Swimming Record in Olympic Games

August 30, 1972
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Mark Spitz swam a world record 2:00.7 in the men’s 200-meter butterfly in the Olympics yesterday shattering the standard he set earlier this month at the US trials. Spitz, an Indiana University student from Carmichael, Calif., continued on to his second triumph at the Olympics when, 30 minutes after receiving his first individual gold medal, he returned and anchored the US 400-meter relay team to a record 3:26.42 triumph.

The New York Times, in a “Man in the News” feature on the Jewish athlete, noted that when he was 10 years old swimming interfered with his after-school Hebrew lessons.” His father, Arnold Spitz, explained to the rabbi: ‘Even God likes a winner,'” the Times feature reported. At 14, Spitz made it to the national championships and by 17 he was regarded “as one of the world’s best, setting or tying five American records in one year and breaking five world marks in international competition,” the Times stated.

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