Back in 1972 Mark Spitz showed up to the Munich Olympics sporting a new and somewhat audacious look. Yes, the competitive swimmer now had a distinctive mustache, and that was despite the chance that the facial fuzz would slow him down in the pool. But the whiskers seemingly proved unproblematic, as by the end of the games Spitz had set multiple world records. And as a result, mustaches became something of a trend among his rivals.
The eldest of three, Spitz was born to parents Arnold and Lenore Sylvia in Modesto, California, in 1950. However, the family then moved to the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu when Spitz was two. And here, the young boy developed an affinity with the water that would one day prove significant.
During his time living in Honolulu, the young Spitz would reportedly swim in the waters of Waikiki beach day after day. In fact, this is a memory that his mother recalled to Time magazine back in 1968. “You should have seen that little boy dash into the ocean,” she said.