Giant on the move
Michael Phelps completed his record-breaking haul of eight gold medals at one Games on Sunday, beating fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s seven from Munich in 1972.
This one was never in much doubt — in stark contrast to the ‘fingernail’ win in yesterday’s butterfly — as he and his American team won the 4 x 100 metres medley relay comfortably. It took his overall tally to 14 from two Games.
He was already the athlete with most Olympic gold medals; now he has overtaken Spitz’s record too.
Not everyone may regard him as the greatest Olympian ever, but this was surely the greatest single feat at one Games.
How exactly did Michael Phelps manage to win that race this morning?
What is the plunge for distance competition?
And how could we make archery a bit more exciting?
I’m joined by Julian Linden and Ossian Shine on our latest podcast from Beijing. Seven minutes is all it takes. Go on … you know you want to.
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.
Michael 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.
If anyone at this Games could be forgiven for being a little bit conceited, a touch arrogant or slightly dismissive of his opponents then it surely would be Michael Phelps. Six races, six gold medals, six world records — it must be hard to keep your feet on the ground.
The reality is that having watched Phelps close-up this week, both poolside and in the press conference room, there isn’t the slightest whiff of arrogance about him. Even when provoked, by a reporter’s question about doping for example, he remains calm and respectful giving a sensible answer.
In which Julian Linden, Martin Petty, Ossian Shine and myself combine to discuss Harry Potter, Rocky and Mary Poppins, as well as all the sport you could shake a stick at.
This one’s short and sweet so go ahead and give it a click. What else have you got to do for the next seven minutes?
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.
Tennis at the Olympics may rank far below the Grand Slams but considering he has not won one of those this year a gold medal would still have served very nicely, thanks very much.
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.
Gary Hershorn writes: Photographers at the Olympics are always waiting for the cliché medals ceremony images, those being a bite or kiss of the medal.
As corny as they may be, once in awhile the framing all comes together and actually produces a nice photo that newspapers love to publish. Alain Bernard kissing his gold medal after winning the men’s 100 meters freestyle final was one such photo.