Changing China

Giant on the move

Day seven at the Games: Fabulous Phelps keeps focus on the pool

August 15, 2008

Phelps divesMichael Phelps made it six golds in six races to edge closer to the record of Mark Spitz, while the three fastest men in the world whetted the appetites of 90,000 fans at the Bird’s Nest as swimming and athletics vied for attention on Friday.

Phelps was untroubled in the men’s 200 metres individual medley, moving to within one win of Spitz’s record from the 1972 Games.

Can anything stop Phelps? Well, yes, it is possible. American team mate Ian Crocker holds the world record and is up against him in the 100m fly on Saturday morning.

Can anything stop Usain Bolt in the men’s 100m on the track? That looks more doubtful. Bolt appeared to have plenty in hand as he won his second heat in 9.92 seconds and it will be a major surprise if anyone can catch him on Saturday.

The two rounds of the 100m heats were arguably the highlight of the first day of action at the Bird’s Nest, where the first track gold went to Tirunesh Dibaba in the 10,000 following her terrific burst over the last 300 metres.

At the tennis, Roger Federer showed there is life in the old dog yet as he recovered from his defeat by James Blake in the singles to partner Stanislas Wawrinka to victory over the Bryan brothers in the doubles.

Of course, the gold medal everyone wants is in the singles and it looks increasingly likely to go to Rafa Nadal following his win over Novak Djokovic. Nadal will play Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez for the title after his win over Blake in a heated semi-final.

For pic of the day, look below. Story of the day was probably American swimmer Rebecca Soni smashing the world record to win the 200 metres breaststroke two years after having heart surgery. My colleague Keith Weir chose the following as quote of the day:

“I told her I won! And she said,’Fat girl, you did!’ … This wasn’t just my dream, it was hers, so we were just so excited.”

That was China’s Tong Wen disclosing what her coach said to her after her victory in the women’s +78 kg judo final.

For joke of the day, listen to the end of our podcast. From six appeal to sax appeal … the old ones are the best…

Photo by David Gray /Reuters

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