Spitz is Big Ten Icon No. 11

It seems Isiah Thomas is the only Hoosier left to appear. From the Big Ten Network:

CHICAGO – Indiana’s Mark Spitz has been named Big Ten Icon No. 11. The countdown of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, continues at 9 PM ET on Tuesday, Nov. 16, with a profile of the California native who won nine Olympic gold medals, eight individual NCAA championships and helped the Hoosiers to four straight NCAA team titles.

New episodes of the 20-episode series, hosted by legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson, debut at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring.

The summer after his senior year at Indiana, Spitz turned in one of the most memorable individual performances by any athlete in Olympic history. He competed in seven events in the 1972 Munich games and not only won gold medals in all seven, but also set world records in every race. Sadly, the Munich Games are best remembered for an attack by Palestinian terrorists that claimed the lives of 11 Israeli athletes.

Spitz competed at Indiana from 1968-72, and in those years, he won nine Olympic gold medals, five Pan-American Games gold medals, 31 AAU titles and eight NCAA titles. He set 33 world records. He was World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972. He won the Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete and the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year award in 1972. He was elected to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1977 and the Indiana University Hall of Fame in 1982, and he became a charter member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983.

In an essay for www.BigTenIcons.com, former Chicago Tribune sports editor Dan McGrath wrote, “He showed the world what a truly great, truly committed athlete can achieve.”  To read the essay on Spitz and learn more about his accomplishments, visit his Big Ten Icons locker at www.BigTenIcons.com.


  1. Kinda surprised AT didn’t show up on the list somewhere. Had all sorts of conference and NCAA records at the end of his IU career. However, they must be taking into account the non-college career of many of these athletes, and AT didn’t do much in the NFL.

  2. now they start on the top ten icons:

    betting they’ll include tommy harmon, dan gable, red grange, magic johnson, jerry lucas, john wooden and numero uno will probably be jesse owens or archie griffin.

    don’t know if isiah thomas will make it; he only played two years, but then, so did magic, but everything magic touches turns to gold while for isiah, it turns to you know what. the man is toxic.

    and if being a superstar and winning the ncaa were the criteria, then glen rice, quinn buckner and mateen cleaves would all be up there in the final group.

    wonder if iu track olympians don lash, milt campbell, sunder nix or other more obscure, lesser-known but great-achieving hoosiers in “minor sports” have a shot? sunder nix was big ten athlete of the year in 1987, beating out butch woolfolk. any soccer stars?

    if coaches were included, knight, mccracken, counsilman, bell and yeagley would all deserve to be in the top ten.

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