Mark Spitz - The First Gold Medal Man

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

An Olympic legend will be in the Springs this week. How you can hear him speak.


Mark Spitz was Michael Phelps before there was a Michael Phelps.

One of my first memories of the Olympics, heck of sports at all, is the 1972 games in Munich and the triumph of Mark Spitz. I was 7. I loved sports and I watched a lot of baseball and football and hockey. Once the Olympics started, even as a kid, I realized that the event was something special and that Mark Spitz was unbelievable.

He won 7 gold medals and set 7 world records. It's part of the general library of knowledge in the mind of anyone who has followed sports since childhood. It's kind of like Babe Ruth and the number 714. Ruth has since been eclipsed and now so has Spitz. It just seems like the first to reach a remarkable milestone is always the one who is remembered, even after the record falls.

The 1972 Olympics also had Olga Korbut, and the terrible attack on the Israeli team..I remember all of that too...but Spitz stands out in the minds for what he did in the pool.  After the games he was a pretty big celebrity even before our nation ( and the world) turned into the celebrity-worship machine that we are now. I think I remember seeing Spitz as a guest star on the Sonny and Cher variety that was BIG TIME.

These days he's a motivational's that for someone who knows his subject? He's bringing his message to Colorado Springs on Wednesday morning for the "Breakfast Of Champions". It's a big fundraiser for the Peak Vista Healthcare Systems. My co-anchor Shannon Brinias and I have the honor of serving as emcees for the event again this year.

Peak Vista provides no cost health care for tens of thousands in El Paso and Teller Counties. I recently talked to the CEO's of both Penrose/St. Francis, and Memorial hospitals about the valuable work Peak Vista does for our community. Both told me that without Peak Vista we would have a lot more people who simply can't get care, or would only get care at emergency rooms, and that would cost the hospitals millions. So Peak Vista is a a champion of care for all...

The breakfast is Wednesday, and you can still go. here's a website to get a seat, to hear a champion talk about life before and after his Olympic triumph.

I still remember watching him swim, now I cant wait to hear him speak. I'll blog again to tell you how it went.
We'll talk again soon.


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