After five gold medals at the 1967 Pan American Games, great things were expected of Mark Spitz at the 1968 Olympics, but he surprisingly failed to win an individual event. Before the 1972 Olympics, however, Spitz became undoubtedly the world’s greatest swimmer, and considered by many the greatest ever. In 1971 he became the first swimmer to win four individual AAU titles at one meet, setting three world records in the process. The next week, at a meet in East Germany, he won all four events again, this time breaking all four world records. The performance made him an overwhelming choice for the 1971 Sullivan Award. At the 1972 Olympics, Spitz set an Olympic record by winning seven gold medals, all of them in world-record time, the seven gold medals broken only in 2008 by Michael Phelps. Overall, he won 24 AAU championships, eight NCAA titles (while at Indiana University), and set 32 world records. After the 1972 Olympics he capitalized on his fame through various commercial interests, and invested heavily in California real estate. He returned to competition in 1991 with the aim of making the Olympic team the following year but, as he was over 40 years of age, it was a forlorn hope and an unfortunate end to a career of unrivaled achievements.