Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: September 2, 1972
Date Finished: September 3, 1972
[Mark Spitz] had already won five gold medals in Munich, in his attempt to win seven golds in seven events. The day after the 100 freestyle final he would swim the medley relay final for the United States, which was pretty much a given for another gold medal. So his quest to win 7 in 7 came down to this race, the one race in which he was considered slightly vulnerable, as his teammate [Jerry Heidenreich] was a formidable challenger. The day before the final, in the heats and semis, he had held back and had not won either race. He considered dropping out of the final, to preserve his perfect record in Munich, but elected to race and go for seven.
Spitz started the final out fast, which surprised Heidenreich. He reached the turn well ahead and then hung on, as Heidenreich closed fast, but it was not enough to prevent Spitz from winning his sixth gold medal in Munich. Soviet Russian [Vladimir Bure] won the bronze medal. His son, [Pavel Bure], later played for the Soviet and Russian national teams in ice hockey, and played for 12 years in the NHL.