Michael Gross (swimmer)
Michael Groß (born 17 June 1964), usually spelled Michael Gross in English, is a former competitive swimmer from Germany. He is 201 centimetres (6 ft 7 in) tall, and received the nickname "The Albatross" for his especially long arms that gave him a total span of 2.13 meters. 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.
Gross in 2014
|Full name||Michael Gross|
Michael Groß (German)
|National team||West Germany|
|Born||17 June 1964|
Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
|Height||2.01 m (6 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||88 kg (194 lb)|
Gross was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He was probably the finest swimmer in the world in the 200-meter butterfly race from 1981 to 1988. In this period he set four world records, won two world titles, four European titles and two Olympic gold medals.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Gross was one of the great athletes of the games. Gross easily won gold in the 200-meter freestyle, dominating the field. In the 100-meter butterfly, however, Gross pulled off a bit of an upset, winning over the favorite in the event, American Pablo Morales. However, in the 200-meter butterfly, Gross himself was upset by a relative unknown, Australian Jon Sieben. The men's 4×200-meter 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.
American gold medalist 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.
Gross studied German and media studies as well as political science at the Goethe University Frankfurt and holds a PhD in philology. He married in 1995 and has a daughter (born 1996) and a son (born 1998).
- List of members of the International Swimming Hall of Fame
- German records in swimming
- List of multiple Olympic medalists at a single Games
- World record progression 100 metres butterfly
- World record progression 100 metres freestyle
- World record progression 200 metres butterfly
- World record progression 200 metres freestyle
- World record progression 400 metres freestyle
- World record progression 800 metres freestyle
- World record progression 4 × 200 metres freestyle relay
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