Spitz adds seventh victory, seventh world mark

By United Press International

MUNICH (UPI) -- Mark Spitz got his record seventh swimming gold medal and fellow American swimming stars made another clean sweep Monday to give the United States a commanding medals lead despite an impressive 200-meter victory by Valery Borzov of Russia in track and field.

Borzov held off Larry Black of Miami, Fla., to win the 200-dash in 20 seconds flat, two-tenths of a second off the world record, and thereby became only the seventh athlete in Olympic history to win both sprints and the first one to do it in 16 years.


While Borzov was the hero of track and field, it was the young American swimming stars, most of them in the 14 to 16 year range, who were extending nearly every world record to what many thought were unreachable heights only four years ago.

Spitz, the "old man" of the group at 22 and competing in his last race, swam the butterfly leg on the winning men's 400-meter medley relay, which this time was anchored by Jerry Heidenreich of Dallas, Texas. With Mike Stamm of San Diego, Calif., and Tom Bruce of Sunnyvale, Calif., they carved out a world record 3:48.2.


It was the fourth American gold medal in swimming on the final day of the competition and the fourth world record. Earlier, Karen Moe of Santa Clara, Calif., took the world record to 2:15.6 in leading a Yank 1-2-3 sweep in the 200-meter butterfly, Melissa Belote of Springfield, Va., won the 200-meter backstroke in 2:19.2 and Mike Burton of Carmichael, Calif., won the 1,500-meter freestyle in 1:52.6.

Spitz, who aspires to a career in dentistry but is toying with an idea of making movies, thus completed his brilliant swimming career with four individual gold medals and three from team events. That stamps him as the most successful athlete on Olympic history and is guaranteed to make his name known throughout the world for years to come.

Lynn Colella of Seattle, Wash., finished second to Miss Moe in the 200 butterfly and Ellie Daniel and Elkins Park, Pa., was third, while Susie Atwood of Long Beach, Calif., was second to Miss Belote in the 200 backstroke and Doug Northway of Tucson, Ariz., wound up third in the 1,500 freestyle.

That gave the United States men swimmers 10 victories and the girls eight, plus the springboard diving gold by Micki King of Pontiac, Mich. In all, the American "kids" took part in a record setting orgy that included 32 world and 84 Olympic marks.


The four swimming golds, two silvers and two bronze, plus Black's silver in the 200 meter dash, a bronze in waterloo and a silver by diver Richard Rydze of Pittsburgh boosted the American medals total to 71 -- eight more than Russia and 23 more than East Germany, which has won four track and field golds to trail West Germany in that sport by one gold.

However, the U.S. faced the possibility of losing a swimming gold because Rick DeMont of San Rafael, Calif., winner of the 400-meter freestyle last Friday, was charged with taking a banned stimulant. Demont took the stimulant as part of a medicine for an asthma condition and it showed up in a urine test.

U.S. officials insisted they had informed the International Olympic Committee that DeMont was taking the medicine before the swimming competition started. Prince Alexandre de Marode, head o the IOC Medical Commission, said that wasn't true, but that he personally would not recommend that DeMont's medal be taken.

Spitz, who admitted he was as tired of swimming as he could be, wasted little time hanging around the pool after his leg of the medley but lingered longer than usual through the victory celebration, as if savoring every last moment of a brilliant career, unmatched in the history of sport and unlikely ever to be equalled since there is talk of cutting back the number of swimming events in future games.


Spitz admitted to be tired and emotionally spent after a fantastic eight days of swimming.

"I think I'll postpone my education for a while," he said. "What I'd like to do is get away somewhere and be alone for a while, away from all the noise, into seclusion."

While there was nothing but joy for America from the swimming hall, things were a lot different at Olympic stadium, site of the track and field competition, which up to now has been dominated by the two Germanys, who have taken nine golds between them.

Borzov's victory was a big one in the 200, coming as it did on the heels of his triumph in the 100. The last athlete to win the two sprints was Bobby Morrow, then of Abilene Christian College, in the 1956 Games at Melbourne, Australia.

Viktor Saneev of Russia won the men's long jump with a leap of 56-11 with Joerg Drehmel of East Germany winning the silver and Nelson Prudencio of Italy winning the Bronze. John Craft of Charleston, Ill., made the best showing by the Americans -- a 55-2 1/2, which got him fifth place.

Kip Keino, the veteran distance runner from Kenya, tuned up for Friday's metric mile showdown against Jim Ryun with a world record victory of 8:23.6 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Urieke Meyfarth of West Germany won the women's high jump with an Olympic record equalling leap of 6-2 3/4.


Ben Jipco, also of Kenya, was second in the steeplechase and Tapio Kantanen of Finland was third. The U.S. didn't have a starter in the final field.

In the women's high jump, Yordanka Blagoeva of Bulgaria won the silver medal and the Ilona Gusenbauer of Austria took the bronze. Again, the U.S. was without representative in the final.

In the hammer, only Tom Gage of Baton Rouge, La., met the qualifying standard with a show of 227-8 1/4 as Al Schoterman of Tumacacori, Ariz., and George Frenn of San Fernando, Calif., bowed out.

In the 400-meter dash, where, the U.S. is the big favorite, John Smith of Los Angeles, Vince Matthews of Queens Village, N.Y., and Wayne Collett of Santa Monica, Calif., easily qualified for the final, while in the women's 400, Kathy Hammond of Carmichael, Calif., and Mable Ferguson of Pomona, Calif., barely advanced.

In the women's 200 dash, Barbara Ferrell of Los Angeles and Jackie Thompson of San Diego, Calif., advanced but Pam Greene of Boulder, Colo., didn't.

World record holder Rod Milburn of Opelousas, La., Tom Hill of Jonesboro, Ark., and defending champion Willie Davenport of Baton Rouge, La., qualified for the 110-meter high hurdles final without extending themselves. American backers are looking for a sweep in that event to resurrect hopes in track and field where Dave Wottle's victory in the 800-meter run is the only one thus far in the U.S. bag.


The U.S. water polo team defeated Italy 6-5 to clinch the bronze medal. It marked the first time America had won a water polo medal since the 1932 Games.

Klaus Dibiasi of Italy won the gold medal in men's platform diving, but Rydze, with a fine final dive, moved up to grab the silver medal. Another Italian, Giorgio Cagnotto, won the bronze.

Russia won the water polo title by playing to a 3-3 tie with Hungary and added golds in heavyweight weight-lifting and tandem cycling. In the day's other final, Italy won the team sabre gold medal with Russia second and Hungary third.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us