Giant on the move
Six races, six world records and six gold medals: there really is no stopping Michael Phelps at these Games.
The man from Baltimore finished over a second ahead of his closest rival, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, in the men’s 200 metres individual medley on Friday to close to within one of Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Ryan Lochte, pictured above, was third.
Phelps is targeting eight golds in Beijing and who would now bet against him?
Continuing the theme of Phelps becoming an independent sovereign nation (see yesterday’s post) this latest success would be enough to put him level in the medals table with South Korea and Italy (if you include the relays) and behind only China, the U.S. and Germany.
Not bad for one man and his goggles.
All in all, the last six days have been a really good warm up, but now I’m ready for the real action, which it does on the track in the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Friday morning.
What do all those athletes get up to in the Village once the competition is over?
Is Michael Phelps the most marketable athlete in the world?
And can Julian Linden speak a bit more clearly, please?
I’m joined by Julian, Mitch Phillips, Nick Mulvenney and Belinda Goldsmith to discuss the smouldering issues of the day.
This is a long shot, I know, but if Michael Phelps suddenly decided to break away from the United States and declare himself a sovereign nation, he’d currently be joint-fourth in the medals table at the Olympics — level with the U.S.
A glance to the right of this blog will show China leading with 20 golds and the U.S. second on 10. Phelps has won, or helped win five of those and with three more in his sights over the last few days of the swimming he could take his personal tally to eight.
Michael Phelps cast a shadow over the Games once again on Wednesday as the man from Baltimore won two more gold medals, and set two more world records, to take his Beijing tally to five and make it 11 gold medals in his career.
What an athlete this man is. He is renowned as a cool customer, but we noted today that he did not entirely reject the idea that he is the world’s greatest Olympian. That’s a big debate, and one we’ve joined in lustily here at View from the Bird’s Nest, but no one would deny that he’s one of the greatest Olympians and I’m sure he’s about to put a lot more fuel on the fire when he goes for the remaining three golds open to him.
Gary Hershorn writes: Underwater photography is a tricky thing to get right but Germany-based photographer Wolfgang Rattay has perfected the art of making dramatic images from a most unusual angle.
Today’s photo of Michael Phelps winning his 10th all-time gold medal (the 11th came later) was perfect in its beauty and painting like feel. The image captured Phelps in the lead and on his way to gold.
Where do athletes go after they’ve outgrown the pantheon?
Just who is the Marine Biologist from Baltimore?
And who was responsible for a piece of writing variously described as the worst piece of publishing ever, the worst article ever written and being based on a stupid premise?
Click play on the podcast above to find out the answers to all these questions and more, as I’m joined by Mitch Phillips, Padraic Halpin, Simon Evans and the world’s loudest Australian, Julian Linden.
Poor Laszlo Cseh, the Hungarian who twice in these Games has finished second to Michael Phelps, was quite frank when asked by a reporter whether he had thought, during Wednesday’s 200m butterfly that he could actually beat Michael Phelps.
“It never even crossed my mind,” he said.
That should tell you everything about how much better Phelps is than his rivals — they know they are swimming for silver medal at best and that can’t be much fun.
Michael Phelps made light of goggle trouble to claim his fourth gold medal of the Games and then helped his American team win the 4 x 100 m freestyle and make it five wins from five, in fact five world records from five, at these Games.
He now has 11 Olympic gold medals, which puts clear blue water between him and four athletes who have won nine.
Michael Phelps made the headlines once again – most of them including the word “pantheon” — as he made it three gold medals and three world records from three finals so far.
The American now has nine career Olympic gold medals to his name and will almost certainly break the record he now shares with four other athletes when he swims in two finals tomorrow.