Phelps equals Spitz’s record of seven gold medals

August 16th, 2008 - 12:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 16 (DPA) Michael Phelps Saturday equalled Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals at one Olympics as he won the men’s 100m butterfly. Also winning gold in the day were Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry and Britain’s Rebecca Adlington, both of whom won in world record time in the women’s section, and Cesar Cielo who won Brazil’s first swimming gold.

Phelps was seventh at the turn and looked beaten, but pulled victory out on the last stroke as he beat Serbian Milorad Cavic by just one hundredth of a second. Phelps’ time of 50.58 seconds was an Olympic record.

Bronze went to Australian Andrew Lauterstein in 51.12 secs.

Phelps said he did not at first believe that he had won. “When I took the last stroke I thought I lost the race there, but it turns out that was the difference.

“I feel a little bit of everything - relief, excitement, everything. I had to take my goggles off first to make sure the ‘one’ was next to my name. When I saw the 50.58 secs and the 50.59 secs and I saw the ‘one’ next to my name, that’s when I sort of let my roar out.”

Coventry finally won Olympic gold in Beijing as she defended her Olympic 200m backstroke title from Athens with a world record time, after earlier picking up silver in the women’s 100m backstroke, as well as the 200m and 400m individual medley.

Coventry won in a time of two minutes 5.24 seconds, beating American Margaret Hoelzer by 0.99 sec. The bronze went to Japan’s Reiko Nakamura in a time of 2:07.12 secs.

Hoelzer held the previous world record of 2:06.09 secs at the US trials in Omaha last month.

Cielo won a first-ever Olympic swimming gold medal for Brazil as he took the men’s 50m freestyle in a time of 21.30 secs.

There were tears as he came out of the water after beating the French duo of Amaury Leveaux (21.45) and 100m freestyle winner Alain Bernard (21.49) into second and third place.

Cielo had earlier won the bronze medal in the 100m freestyle.

Britain’s Adlington also became a multi-medal winner as she smashed the oldest existing swimming world record to win the women’s 800m freestyle in a time of 8 minutes 14.10 seconds.

The old record was 8:16.22 set by American Janet Evans in 1989.

Second place went to Italian Alessia Filippi in 8:20.23, while Denmark’s Lotte Friis took bronze in 8:23.03.

19-year-old Adlington had earlier also won gold in the women’s 400m.

“It means everything to me and I never knew it was going to be like this. I just got in there and did my best. It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve worked so hard and it’s paid off,” she said.

In the women’s 50m freestyle event 41-year-old Dara Torres qualified for Sunday’s final with the fastest time of 24.27, with Australian Cate Campbell and Germany’s Britta Steffen having the second and third-fastest time.

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