swimmer

Michael Gross (swimmer)

}} Michael Gross (born June 17, 1964 in Frankfurt am Main) is a former swimmer from Germany. A 202 cm (6 ft 7 in) athlete, he received the nickname "The Albatross" due to his especially long arms which gave him a total span of 2.13 m. Gross, competing for West Germany, won three Olympic gold medals, two in 1984 and one in 1988 in the freestyle and butterfly events, in addition to two World Championship titles in 1982, two in 1986 and one in 1991. He was born in Frankfurt.

Career

Gross was probably the finest swimmer in the world in the 200 m butterfly race from 1981 to 1988. In this period he set four world records, won two world titles, four European titles and one Olympic gold medal. He is perhaps the finest European Swimmer ever.

The sole exception occurred in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, when Gross was one of the great athletes of the games. Gross easily won gold in the 200 m freestyle, dominating the field. In the 100 m butterfly, Gross pulled off a bit of an upset, winning over the favorite in the event, American Pablo Morales. However, in the 200 m butterfly, Gross himself was upset by a relative unknown, Australian Jon Sieben. The men's 4x200 m freestyle relay race became one of the marquee events of the games, with Gross leading the German relay against the underdog American squad. Despite the fact that Gross swam the fastest relay leg in the event's history, the American team pulled off the upset, earning the title of the Grossbusters.

Gross won a total of thirteen medals at the World Championships (including five gold), fifteen gold medals at the European Championships and was elected German "Athlete of the Year" four times (1982, 1983, 1984 and 1988). He retired from professional swimming in 1991.

He is featured in Bud Greenspan's 16 Days of Glory, the documentary film of the 1984 Summer Olympics.

1976 gold medal winning swimmer John Naber remarked to Sports Illustrated in 1984 that if Michael Gross were an American, he would have won six or seven medals, and that Gross was better than Mark Spitz.

He was named Male World Swimmer of the Year in 1985 by Swimming World magazine and admitted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995.

See also

External links






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