Milestones: 32 Years Ago In Time

Swimmer Michael Phelps is about to challenge the record set by MARK SPITZ of seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics. It was a feat worthy of a TIME cover.

Mark Spitz is in as complete command of his sport as any other athlete in history. There are many reasons for his proficiency, but his physical attributes alone would seem to give him a pool-length advantage over a greased porpoise. He carries 170 lbs. easily on a tightly compacted 6-ft. frame. Hanging from his wide shoulders are a pair of long supple arms terminating in a pair of scoop-shovel hands that...

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