To describe London as being fully immersed in Olympic fever is an understatement. Every third person striding down the street is draped in their national colours, cheers and anthems ring out at regular intervals from office windows, and the man once dubbed the greatest Olympian of all time reigns supreme on the AnOther Loves stream.
Mark Spitz, nine time gold medal winner, seven of which were achieved at the 1972 Munich games, is a international icon; both of sporting excellence and moustache style. His extraordinary competitive career – which spanned just four years – saw him break 35 world records before retiring at 22. This poster, showing Spitz accessorising his seven Munich golds with just the briefest pair of Stars and Stripes speedos, turned him into the bestselling pin up since Betty Grable, while his lush moustache provoked frustration at shaving mirrors across the world. Despite being the crowning glory for every man aspiring to seventies style, moustaches were considered verboten for high-ranking swimmers, who were more likely to be found shaving off all their body hair to minimise water resistance. Defying the experts, Spitz claimed that it deflected water from the mouth and made him “bullet-shaped in the water.” In the aftermath of his series of victories, this claim clearly held credence – at least for the Russian team, who all returned the next year with full moustaches.
"This poster, showing Spitz accessorising his seven Munich golds with just the briefest pair of Stars and Stripes speedos, turned him into the bestselling pin up since Betty Grable."
So, in celebration of yet another victory by Mark Spitz, this time in the AnOther Loves vote, we speak to the poster of the image, Another Man editor Ben Cobb, about Olympic fever and where, as a moustache aficionado himself, he finds his inspiration…
Why did you choose to love Mark Spitz?
He's something of a forgotten Olympic hero. And he's got a great gigolo/athlete look.
What would you wear to complement seven gold medals?
I think Spitz got it right: just trunks and let the metal do the talking.
What would be your Olympic sport of choice?
110m hurdles. I was Sussex County AAA hurdling champion in my early teens.
Who is your Olympic hero?
The 2012 GB team.
Do you have Olympic fever or Olympic ennui?
I'm in the throes of full-on fever.
What is your preferred swimwear? Patterned or plain?
Patterned or plain, it has to be a speedo.
Who are your key moustache inspirations?
So many... George Harrison, Lester Bangs, Oliver Reed, Alain Delon, Maurizio Merli and my father in old photos.
What was the last item you bought?
A cream suit from Tom Ford.
Text by Tish Wrigley