Old 17th August 2008, 13:06   #1
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Phelps wins 8th gold in 8th attempt

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BEIJING - The impossible became the probable this morning, and when Michael Phelps had history on his shoulders and only a small deficit, it became a foregone conclusion. He gave the United States' 400 medley relay team the lead, tucked his record eighth gold medal in his gold-lined Speedo and left the Olympics as the most decorated Olympian in a single Games and in history.
The U.S. came from behind in the last half of the race to beat Australia and Japan in a world-record 3:29.34. For those just emerging from an abandoned mine, here is Phelps' Olympic haul: eight races, eight gold medals, eight personal bests, seven world records.
He topped Mark Spitz's 1972 mark of seven golds, which seemed as vulnerable in the water as last week's sports page the minute Phelps jumped into the Water Cube pool. Believe it or not, in two Olympics Phelps has 14 gold medals.
"The biggest thing is nothing's impossible," said Phelps, looking relaxed, relieved and a bit shocked. "So many people said it couldn't be done. All it takes is an imagination, and that's something I learned and something that helped me."
It has been a long, hard ride for Phelps. He swam morning finals and evening prelims nearly every day.
He'd win a gold medal with a world record, go to the award stand, wave to the crowd as he strips off his warm-ups and win another gold medal with another world record.
"It's gone from getting my hand on the wall and winning by one one-hundredths to winning the 400 free by nine one-hundredths to getting my best time in every event," he said. "It has been nothing but an upward roller coaster. It's been nothing but fun."
Today's U.S. relay made it interesting for a while. Aaron Peirsol, the gold medalist in the 100 backstroke, gave the U.S. a 0.20-second lead over Russia and Australia after the first leg.
But breaststroker Brendan Hansen topped a lousy year by putting the U.S. in third, 0.07 behind second-place Australia.
That's when Phelps showed why two of his eight medals were in the 100 and 200 butterfly. He gave a quarter-second lead to freestyle anchor Jason Lezak who held off Australian sprinter Eamon Sullivan.
"I was very nervous going into the race," said Lezak, who came from behind to win the 400 freestyle relay. "Anything could happen. I just wanted to go out hard and hold on as strong as I could."
So Phelps needs an extra duffle bag to take home all his medals, but he says he'll take away so much more. He has gone from the youngest person on the U.S. swim team when he went to Sydney as a 15-year-old to a 23-year-old leader trying to elevate swimming's image in America.
But while he has risen above the rest of history, he takes pride in not rising above his teammates.
"I was able to be a part of three relays and we were able to put together a solid team effort and we were able to come together as one unit," he said. "For the three Olympics I've been a part of, this has been by far the closest men's team we've ever had."
Then, with the biggest achievement in Olympic history accomplished, swimming's god turned into a little kid.
"I have so much emotion, so much excitement," he said. "I guess I just want to see my mom."
"It's gone from getting my hand on the wall and winning by one one-hundredths to winning the 400 free by nine one-hundredths to getting my best time in every event."
MICHAEL PHELPS
Source: http://www.sltrib.com/portlet/articl...740&siteId=297

That's incredible. 8 gold medals in a single Olympic games - a record that may never be broken. Not only that, but he set 7 world records.

Congratulations, Michael and team USA.

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Old 17th August 2008, 20:21   #2
Namelessv1
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The 7th gold medal he took by winning the 100m butterfly was insane with how close it was:
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Old 20th August 2008, 10:43   #3
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The guy has plenty of time to get more, considering how young he is.

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Old 21st August 2008, 01:52   #4
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Incredible, right? At 23, I was complaining about having a full time job and completely unable to run a mile without passing out. Gotta love this guy's dedication!
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Old 21st August 2008, 05:30   #5
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USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

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