If the American made it look easy at Munich in 1972, it certainly wasn't.
Four years earlier, Spitz arrived at Mexico City as the owner of 10 world records and confidently predicted he would win six gold medals. Yet the Games did not go to plan, and his only two golds came in relays.
Spitz redoubled his efforts, training at Indiana University under legendary coach Doc Counsilman. The hard work paid off.
He only intended to compete in six events in Munich, but was persuaded to take part in the 100m freestyle despite misgivings. He said at the time: "If I swim six and win six, I'll be a hero. If I swim seven and win six, I'll be a failure."
Luckily enough, he won all seven, setting seven new world records along the way. His mark was overhauled by Michael Phelps in 2008.
However, the Games fell under a cloud when members of the Israeli team were held hostage by a terrorist group - the Jewish Spitz left Munich early and retired from competition aged just 22.
Two decades later he made an unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the Barcelona Games.