Skip To Content

Jewish Jock Helps Phelps Make Olympic History

Poor Mark Spitz. The middle-aged motivational speaker and former swimmer can no longer be “considered the Greatest Olympic athlete of all-time,” now that Michael Phelps has won eight gold medals in one Olympics this morning, surpassing Spitz’s seven in 1972.

Spitz can actually thank a fellow Jew for this development. Jason Lezak, who won bronze in the 100-meter freestyle but, more importantly, swam the anchor leg in the 4×100 freestyle relay that helped push the U.S. team — including Phelps — to gold on Monday, pulled a golden repeat today.

Following U.S. teammates Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Phelps, Lezak dove into lane four to swim the anchor leg, or final position, of the Men’s 4 x 100 meter medley relay, and touched the finish .7 seconds ahead of the second-place Australians, to give his team a record time of 3:29.34.

“I was thinking, ‘Don’t blow the lead,’” Lezak said. “I was really nervous going in because anything can happen in a one race … I knew Eamon [Sullivan of Australia] was definitely capable of catching me. I wanted to take it out hard and finish as strong as I could.”

The race gave Phelps his record-breaking eighth gold medal for the 2008 games.


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.