Changing China

Giant on the move

Michael Phelps — one down, seven to go

August 10, 2008

Phelps winsMichael Phelps shattered his own world record to win the 400m individual swimming medley in four minutes 03.84 seconds and claim the first of what could be a record-breaking haul of eight gold medals.

The American swimmer, who won six golds at the last Olympics in Athens, has his sights on beating the record of seven golds bagged by Mark Spitz in 1972. The secondary target is four golds to take him ahead of Spitz, Carl Lewis, Finnish middle and long-distance runner Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina, the former Soviet gymnast, in the list of athletes with the most gold medals at the Olympics (currently nine).

Today’s race was one of his two weakest individual events so winning it will give him real hope of at least matching Spitz’s achievement.

Do you think he can beat it? He looked extremely comfortable both in the heats, when he broke what was the Olympic record, and in Sunday’s final, when he blew everyone away.

PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men’s 400m individual medley during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen


Michael is the most magnificent swimmer I have EVER seen. Words can’t describe his talent. It is definitely God given. He is also just a great all American boy. He makes me proud to be an American.

Posted by KDB | Report as abusive

Hi KDB. It was an amazing start, wasn’t it? All the talk here was that the 400 individual medley would be one of the tougher ones to win but he looked like he could have gone a second or so faster, even. I still think the odds are heavily against winning all eight but he’s going to generate a lot of excitement if he carries on like this.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Great start for Michael. I believe that he has what it takes to win… we should all stand behind him and cheer him on… BRING THEM ALL ( 8 GOLD MEDALS ) HOME!!!

Posted by marysol | Report as abusive

As I watched Michael Phelps accept the gold medal for swimming in China, and they played the Star Spangled Banner, and the Americans put their hand over their heart, I felt that overwhelming pride in being an American. It made me think about how I want a President who truly loves this country, as I do. A President who has fought, and is wiling to fight for our traditions, and honors our history … including the words in the Star Spangled Banner … not somebody who would worry that the words in the Star Spangled Banner might offend foreigners from other countries … not somebody who doesn’t hold their hand over their heart during the Star Spangled Banner … and, not somebody who listens to words like ‘God Damn America’ for 20 years … that’s why I’m voting for Senator John McCain in November!!!

Posted by Howard | Report as abusive

I would have loved to see him and Victor Davis go at it in their prime.I put my money on Victor!


Howard, since when did Michael Phelps winning in the Olympics have anything to do with who you are voting for in this years presidential election?

Back on subject, I love seeing Phelps win. It DOES, in fact, give me pride in being American. Plus, the jealously that rides from other countries is undoubtedly high. Read this post from a very displeased Brit: lagher/blog/2008/08/03/why_michael_phelp s_should_not_be_allowed_eight_gold_medal s
What an idiot! And I have seen plenty more articles knocking this Americans(Phelps) accomplishments.
I hope Phelps wins 8.


Michael Phelps is now officially the most successful athlete in Olympic history. He now owns 11 gold medals after winning two golds today— one in the 200m butterfly, another in the 4×200m freestyle relay.


Hi Rebecca. Thanks for that. If you look at our home page and scroll down a bit you’ll find our latest story on Phelps. I’ll also be adding an appreciation from one of our reporters in a few minutes.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see