I found this old commercial – it has to be from the 80s. This was when aerobics was big and so was spandex. Before women (and men) realized that an elliptical machine would be better exercise and less embarrassing. Check out the clothes, and does the guy put on a headband? Leg warmers and big hair included!
If you have been watching the Olympics, you know that Michael Phelps won eight gold medals beating Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in one Olympics. However, if you are a youngster, you might not even know who Mark Spitz is.
Mark Spitz was born on February 10, 1950 in Modesto, California. By age nine he was training at Arden Hills Swim Club . At the age of 10 he held 17 national age-group records and held a world record. His parents moved to Santa Clara, California when Mark was 14 so that he could train with George F. Haines at the Santa Clara Swim Club. During his four years at Santa Clara High School he held national records in every stroke and every distance.
His first Olympics was in Mexico in 1968 where he won two gold medals for team events. He won a silver medal in the 100m Butterfly. After the Olympics he entered Indiana University and won 8 NCAA titles.
The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, Germany. Here he would win seven gold medals and set a world record in each. After the 1972 Olympics, Spitz retired. He did try and qualify for the 1992 Olympic team at age 41, but was too slow by two seconds.
After the promotional appearances faded, Spitz started a real estate company and is now a motivational speaker.
Bobby Fishcer, renowned and controversial chess player, died yesterday at the age of 64. Robert James Fischer was born March 9, 1943 in Chicago, Illinois. His mother divorced his father when Bobby was two years old. Later, it was determined that the father listed on Fischer’s birth certificate may not have been the biological father. Bobby grew up with his mother and older sister Joan.
In 1949, the Fischers moved to Brooklyn, New York where Bobby learned to play chess from instructions found in a chess set. At age seven he joined his first chess club. Bobby dropped out of high school at the age of 16 (he was at the same high school as Barbra Streisand).
In 1956, he won the United States Junior Chess Championship to become the youngest ever champion. At 12 years of age, he was awarded the title of US National Master, the youngest to that point to receive the title. In January, 1958, Fischer became the youngest ever US Champion at age 14. The record still stands.
At age 16, Fischer finished fifth in the world at an International Chess Tournament. Between 1960-62 Fischer tried repeatedly to win an International Tournament but always came up a little short. He stayed in semi-retirement until 1968, playing in a few tournaments.
In 1972, Fischer played against Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union in Iceland. The Tournament took place from July to September. He lost the first two games, but went on to win the Tournament. He gave $61,200 to the Worldwide Church of God to which he had converted earlier. Fischer would later denounce the Church, when it became embroiled in scandal.
Fischer was scheduled to defend his title in 1975 against Anatoly Karpov, but the commission would not meet his demands for number of games and Fischer ended up resigning his World Title. He would not play competitive chess again for almost 20 years.
In 1992, Fischer reemerged again and challenged Spaasky to a “Revenge Match of the 20th Century. ” The match took place in Yugoslavia despite the United Nations embargo on sporting events. The winner would receive two-thirds of $5,000,000. The US Treasury Department warned Fischer that his participation was illegal, but he instead spit on the notice given to him. Fischer won the match easily – 10 wins to 5 with 15 draws.
Even though Fischer was Jewish, he made disparaging remarks against Jews and denied that the Holocast had happened. He believed that he was the “victim of an international Jewish conspiracy.” After 9/11 Fischer was quoted on radio interviews as happy the event had happened, hoped for President Bush’s death and a military coup that would execute hundreds of thousands of American Jewish leaders.
Fischer was arrested in Japan due to an expired passport. Even though he was wanted back in the United States for his chess game in 1992, he was not deported and renounced his US citizenship. Japan had him deported and he moved to Iceland to seek political asylum. Iceland did not believe that Fischer should have received such harsh treatment from the US and granted him full citizenship. This prevented the US from seeking extradition from Iceland since Iceland will not deport its own citizens.
Fischer, who was not one to seek Western medical treatment, died of kidney failure in Iceland on January 17, 2008.
Christy Henrich was a member of the US Gymnastic Team. She was born July 18, 1972. She trained at the Great American Gymnastic Express Club in Blue Springs, MO. In 1986, she mad ethe US National Gymnastics team. She finished ninth at the 1988 Olympic Trials and in 1989 placed second (silver medal) in the all-round competition at the 1989 US National Championships. She used a leap in her balance beam routine that was eventually named for her.
Unfortunately, Christy was told in 1989 by a judge that she needed to lose weight. Instead of eating healthy and taking appropriate nutritional supplements, Christy developed an eating disorder. In a sport that is based on small size, Christy’s frame was a bit larger than some. Her disorder finally created such a problem, that she was asked to leave the gym.
Her weight dropped and her family finally managed to get her to enter a hospital for treatment. She would recover, but eventually slip back into the dangerous pattern. Christy died on July 26, 1994 at the age of 22 from multiple organ failure. She was 4′11″ tall and weighed only 47 pounds.
Since Christy’s death, many other gymnast have stepped forward and admitted their own battles with eating disorders. However, many still contend that the sport is still obsessed with the pencil thin gymnastic body image.
I used to be a HUGE Los Angeles Dodgers fan. One of the pitchers that I admired was Steve Howe. Unfortunately for Steve, he got himself into a bit of trouble which effectively ruined his career and most likely caused his death.
Steve was born March 10, 1958 in Pontiac Michigan. He played for the University of Michigan and was a two-time All Big Ten selection. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers at age 22 and had 17 saves and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1981 he helped the Dodgers win the World Series against the Yankees (that was sooooo sweet!).
In 1983, he checked into a substance abuse center. In 1984, he was suspended for the whole season for substance abuse. During his 17 year career, he was suspended from baseball seven times. Howe pitched for the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers and ended his career with the New York Yankees. In 1992, he was banned for life from baseball but appealed the decision and pitched in 1994 with a great season. He was released from the Yankees in 1996.
Howe claimed in his 1989 autobiography, “Between the Lines: One Athlete’s Struggle to Escape the Nightmare of Addiction,” that he was recovering because of his commitment to evangelical Christianity. However, on April 28, 2006, Howe was killed when his pickup truck rolled over. The toxicology report showed he had methamphetamine in his system (exact amounts unknown).
Howe was only 48 when he died and left behind two children.