1. The Munich 11
Spitz’s record breaking medal count at the 1972 games became overshadowed when Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli Olympians in what has come to be known as the Munich Massacre. During the onslaught, concern for Jewish athletes was so high, the US sent representatives to protect and chaperone Spitz home.
“At 5 pm, they had me and my coach in the back of a car, lying on the floor with a blanket covering us, taking us from the village to the airport,” Spitz said at a UJA dinner in 2012. “We flew to London, and from there I flew to California. When I landed in Sacramento, I was met by Ronald Reagan and members of the Secret Service. The Secret Service remained with me for the next three months.”