The Spitzes were also involved in a couple of minor controversies. Arnold was so convinced that one of Mark's opponents had jumped the gun in the 200 freestyle that he dashed out of the stands and onto the pool deck. "He ought to be arrested," growled one official. The next day the "false start" was all but forgotten in a hassle over a bathing suit. The Speedo people, who have a virtual monopoly in racing suits, apparently were irritated because Mark insisted on wearing a bright orange suit instead of the Arden Hills team suit. That the orange one happened to be made by another company might also have had something to do with their concern.
But even this crisis was overcome. Indeed, it was more typical of Mark Spitz' triumphant week that he was warmly received wherever he went. In his days as swimming's enfant terrible he often was booed, sometimes by his own teammates. But last week there were cheers every time he climbed up on a starting block or mounted the victory stand to receive another medal. He was constantly besieged by youngsters, especially longhaired girls, who wanted his autograph or simply the chance to see him close up. And his appeal was not restricted to teen-agers. Early in the meet, an elderly lady gave Spitz a dime and a green lollipop for luck.
On another occasion Spitz and his family were eating at a Howard Johnson's near the pool when a waiter, wearing the name tag "Mort-3," approached, bearing two strawberry milkshakes, which Mark had ordered.
"They tell me you set a world record," said Mort-3. "Is that why you need two milkshakes? I am an exchange student from Israel, you know, and I saw you once in the Maccabiah Games."
"A Jewish waiter in Texas!" said Arnold. "No wonder we got waited on quicker than anyone else."
Just no end of amazing things happen when Mark Spitz is around.