Host City: Ciudad de MÃ©xico, Mexico
Venue(s): Francisco MÃ¡rquez Olympic Swimming Pool, Ciudad de MÃ©xico
Date Started: October 20, 1968
Date Finished: October 21, 1968
This was a new Olympic event but the favorite was well known â [Mark Spitz], who was the world record holder. Spitz came to Mexico City attempting to win gold medals in six events. He disappointed, winning two gold medals in relays, and one silver and one bronze in individual events. Better things would be ahead for him in Munich four years hence. His biggest challenger in this event was his teammate [Doug Russell], but Russell had never defeated Spitz at the distance. Normally a fast starter, he was invariably passed by Spitz on the home lap. In Mexico City, however, Russell went out slowly as Spitz led the final to the turn in 26.1. On the final lap, Russell pulled ahead and won the gold medal with Spitz second, winning his individual silver, and [Ross Wales] completing the American sweep. Spitz would return in 1972 and win this event in world record time, along with most everything else.