I want to change the sport of swimming: Phelps

August 16th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 16 (DPA) After becoming the greatest Olympian till date with 13 gold medals and tying Mark Spitz’s record of winning seven gold medals at one Olympic Games and still having the chance of breaking that record, Michael Phelps could be excused for running out of goals. On Saturday, the 23-year-old managed to win the 100m butterfly event by the smallest of margins, beating Serbian Milorad Cavic by one hundredth of a second with a time of 50.58.

Asked if - providing he broke Spitz’s record Sunday by being part of a victorious US men’s 4×100m medley relay - he still had any goals, Phelps said he did.

“I have said this before. My big goal is to change the sport of swimming. I want kids coming up to be a part of a new swimming, it must be an even more important sport.

“A friend sent me some pictures and apparently my swim today was shown live during a baseball game, so I guess that swimming is already changing.”

He said that even if that goal was being reached, he was confident that he would find others. “I am sure that my coach Bob Bowman and myself can think of some other goals in the next four years.”

Phelps said that he had always dreamt of being an Olympic gold medal winner. “I think what this really shows is that no matter what you set your imagination to, you can do it.

“Everything is possible if you dream. My coach helped me to dream big. When I got to him he said to me that I should dream big. He told me to dream as big as you can.”

Phelps said that he had been fired up by Cavic’s remarks before the race that he thought it would be better for the sport if Phelps lost.

“These things just fire me up. When others make remarks, we American swimmers use those comments to fuel us, to get us more excited.

“We rise to the occasion.”

“When my coach told me this morning I said that’s OK, I would let my swimming do the talking. But I always welcome comments and I like it. It definitely motivates me.”

The Serbian team lodged an official protest with the sport’s governing body after Phelps’ victory, but it was turned down.

Phelps said that he had not been aware of the protest. “This is the first I hear of it.

“The timing system says it all. There has not really been an error in the timing system that I’ve heard of. I swam my best and as hard as I could.

“And I guess the board says I touched first.”

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