MICHAEL GROSS (FRG)
1995 Honor Swimmer
FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1980 silver (4x100m medley relay); 1984 gold (200m freestyle, 100m butterfly), silver (200m butterfly); 1988 gold (200m butterfly), bronze (4x200m freestyle relay); WORLD RECORDS: 12 (4-200m freestyle, 1-400m freestyle, 1-100m butterfly, 4-200m butterfly, 2-4x200m freestyle relay); WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1982 gold (200m freestyle, 200m butterfly), silver (100m butterfly), bronze (4x200m freestyle relay); 1986 gold (200m freestyle, 200m butterfly), silver (4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay); 1991 gold (4x200m freestyle relay), silver (100m, 200m butterfly), bronze (4x100m medley relay); EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1981 gold (200m butterfly); 1983 gold (200m freestyle, 100m, 200m butterfly, 4x200m freestyle relay), silver (4x100m medley relay); 1985 gold (200m freestyle, 100m, 200m butterfly, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay); 1987 gold (200m butterfly, 4x200m freestyle relay), silver (100m butterfly), bronze (200m freestyle); EUROPEAN RECORDS: 24.
What does this West German superstar's Porsche and swimming have in common? They are both very, very fast.
At 19, Michael Gross set his first world record at the German nationals in 1983. The next three years Michael broke his own record in the 200meter freestyle four times and set world marks in the 200m butterfly (four times) and 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle. At one time, Michael actually held four world records in four different events.
This 6-foot-6 record breaker has dominated the surface of the water for a decade as one of the greatest West German swimmers in history. His stature is so large that his wing span reaches almost lane-to-lane. For this, he has been coined, the "Albatross." Michael says he likes his nickname, "because there are much more stupid nicknames in the world."
Throughout his swimming career, Michael won gold medals at the European Championships in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987; the World Championship Games in 1982, 1986 and 1991; and was a triple gold medalist and a silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics. In the 1988 Olympics he won the gold again in the 200m freestyle and two silver medals in both butterfly events.
Michael's last meet was at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, but he has no intention of leaving the world of sports. He is looking forward to enjoying sports such as skiing and marathon running.
Aside from his swimming, Michael is a philosopher and holds a doctorate in this thought provoking science. To him, this achievement is as important as being an Olympic champion. Gross believes, "The worst thing in life is to have no wishes, no goals, because then you have nothing to reach for, nothing to live for." Needless to say, Michael has had much to live for.