THE 50-METER JUNGLE: The Making of Mark Spitz and Other Swimming Champions by Sherm & Bill Davidson Chavoor

THE 50-METER JUNGLE: The Making of Mark Spitz and Other Swimming Champions

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Spitz contributes one of those adoring and doubtless deserved prefaces -- ""If it hadn't been for Sherm, there wouldn't have been those seven Olympic gold medals. I might not have been in the Olympics at all"" Golly, kids, that was dose! Here Sherm (with Davidson), U.S. Olympic swimming mentor in both 1968 and 1972 as well as developer of Spitz and other standouts (e.g., Debbie Meyer, Mike Burton), reveals how he does it and the problems which splash around in what you'd think should be a reasonably civilized sport. For instance, there's parents -- pushy ones who want their pimply little athlete to have the same attention given a Spitz (Sherm twice tells about a fist fight with one father over the issue). And there's that old coach's headache -- how to keep the kid in condition what with sex and pot around. Giving Mark confidence when he most needed it, coping with the trials of the Munich adventure, knocking the athletic associations (the AAU treats swimmers ""like cattle"" but the NCAA's ""sins are considerably more perfidious"") -- Sherm rattles on like a guy who enjoys his work. That and the Spitz association keep this from sinking.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1973
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan