The 17 Most Inspirational Athletes of the Summer Olympic Games

Here's a look at the athletes that defied odds, broke records and resonated in audiences' minds long after the Summer Olympics were complete (18 Photos)

Sugee Kim on Jul 1, 2012 at 6:28PM

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The 17 Most Inspirational Athletes of the Summer Olympic Games

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Mark Spitz

Year: 1972

Sport: Swimming

Olympic Highlight: A Hawaii native, Mark Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, setting the bar for the most gold medals won by an individual at the Games … that is, before Michael Phelps broke his record in Beijing more than 35 years later! By age 10, Spitz already had 17 national age-group records and later in his career became a three-time World Swimmer of the Year (in 1969, 1971, 1972).  Check out our coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics here.

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