Giant on the move
Heroic Phelps equals Spitz record (Update x2)
Michael Phelps joined Mark Spitz at the highest peak of Olympic achievement on Saturday when his final, desperate lunge for the board brought him victory in the 100m butterfly by the thinnest possible margin and gave him his seventh gold medal at these Games — after an official protest from Serbia was rejected.
Milorad Cavic of Serbia appeared to have the gold tied up until Phelps’s perfect timing saw him home by one hundredth of a second. That is as precise as the timekeeping goes but if anything it looked less than that and shortly after the race Serbia protested the result.
That was rejected a few minutes later, confirming the seventh gold for Phelps.
”I actually thought when I did take that half stroke I thought I had lost the race right there, but I guess that was the difference in the end,” Phelps told reporters after the race but before the protest was launched.
“The last two Olympics I have been able to nail my finishes, I’m happy and at a loss for words but excited.”
Spitz is the only other man to have achieved the feat of seven golds at a single Games, back in Munich in 1972. Phelps will go clear of him on Sunday if, as expected, he joins his American team mates in winning the 4×100 medley relay.
NOTE: This post was updated following the Serbia protest and again after it was rejected. I also reworded it to make it clear it was the Serbia team who protested.
PHOTO: Michael Phelps of the U.S. celebrates after winning the men’s 100m butterfly swimming final at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 16, 2008. REUTERS/David Gray