Competitor® was established with the introduction of the Non-Turb™ Racing Lane at the 1968 Summer Olympics. This lane set a standard in the industry, as it was the first flexible swim lane to effectively dissipate turbulent water while simultaneously creating a wave control barrier for optimum racing conditions.
While the racing Lane eventually evolved into today’s Gold Medal Racing Lane™ whose patented technology was introduced at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, 1968 holds a special place in our hearts. We are incredibly proud of the fact that Competitor is American owned, and our products are American-made with pride, passion, and expertise since 1968.
So let’s take a look back at life in 1968, as well as some of the earliest Competitor products and marketing materials.
- The 1968 Winter Olympics were held in Grenoble, France, notable as the first to use the “Bugler’s Dream” by Leo Arnaud as the theme for Olympic television coverage and the first to be broadcast in color. Peggy Fleming was the only U.S. athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Games
- Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4th at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN
- Robert F Kennedy was assassinated on June 5th at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, CA
- The Intel Corporation was founded in July of 1968 by Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of the integrated circuit, and Gordon E. Moore, a colleague of Noyce’s from Fairchild Semiconductor, to make semiconductor memory more practical and affordable.
- The Beatles’ “White Album” was released in the UK on November 11th, to mixed reviews.
- Apollo Mission 8 was launched on December 21st, the first crewed spaceship to break free of Earth’s orbit and reach the moon.
- 1968 Summer Olympics were held in Mexico City
- Swimming featured a record total of 29 events.
- There was a total of 468 participants from 51 countries competing.
- The United States dominated the competition, winning 52 of 87 possible medals.
- 15-year-old phenom Debbie Meyer from Maryland won three gold medals – 200-meter freestyle, 400-meter freestyle, and 800-meter freestyle.
- Despite predicting that he would win 6 gold medals, 18-year-old Mark Spitz won just two gold medals – winner of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and 4×200-meter freestyle relay. He took home a silver in the 100-meter butterfly and a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle.
- World records were set by Australia’s Michael Wenden in the 100 meters freestyle (52.2), East Germany’s Roland Matthes in the 100-meter backstroke (58.7), and America’s Kaye Hall in the 100 meters backstroke (106.2).
- The U.S. Men’s team won a total of 26 swimming medals out of a possible 39.
- 10 gold medals out of a possible 15
- 8 out of 12 Silver medals
- 8 out of 12 Bronze medals
- The American men won all three relays and scored sweeps in the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley.
- The U.S. Women’s team was called the strongest team ever assembled for amateur athletic competition, but illness during the Games hampered them. Their expected sweep of all of the freestyle events was thwarted by Australia’s 14-year-old whiz, Karen Moras in the 400-meter event, and by Mexico’s Maria Teresa Ramirez in the 800-meter event, each finishing third respectively.
- ASCA Coach of the Year Sherm Chavoor
- NCAA Men’s DI Champion: Indiana University, coached by James Edward “Doc” Counsilman