US swimmer Phelps’ 20 steps to immortality

August 17th, 2008 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

DPA
Beijing, Aug 17 (DPA) American swimmer Michael Phelps Sunday became the most successful athlete at a single Olympic competition, when he picked up his eighth gold medal with the US 4×100 medley relay team. His tally surpasses the seven gold medals won by his compatriot Mark Spitz in swimming in 1972.

Earlier during the Beijing Olympics, Phelps became the most successful Olympian of all times when he won his 10th gold medal, surpassing four other athletes with nine golds.

A total of 20 races, of which he swam in 17, enabled him to set the new benchmark.

1. Saturday, Aug 9 - 400m individual medley - heat 4

Phelps wins his first swim of the competition in Olympic record time of 4:07.82 minutes, beating Italian Luca Marin into second place. He qualifies for the final with the fastest time.

2. Sunday, Aug 10 - 400m individual medley - final

Phelps breaks his own world record by well over a second to win his first gold medal of the meet ahead of Hungarian Laszlo Cseh and his friend Ryan Lochte. His time of 4:03.84 beats his own world record by 1.89 seconds.

Phelps wins his first gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to seven golds and two bronze overall.

3. Sunday, Aug 10 - 200m freestyle - heat 8

Phelps is beaten by Swiss Dominik Meichtry in the heat, but still comfortably qualifies for the semi-finals. The Swiss swims a time of 1:45.80, Phelps has a 1:46.48 to qualify for the final with the third-fastest time.

4. Sunday, Aug 10 - 4×100m freestyle relay - heat 1

The US team sets a world record of 3:12.23, beating their own mark by 0.23 seconds. The Americans swim mainly with a B-team, leaving out Phelps and others to rest them for the final. The team qualifies for the final with the fastest time, beating Australia in their heat, while France had the second-fastest time.

Phelps does not swim in the heat.

5. Monday, Aug 11 - 200m freestyle - semi-final 2

Phelps uses his famous finish to move up from sixth at the first turn to fourth by the last and then finishes third behind winner
Peter Vanderkaay from the US and South Korean Park Tae Hwan. Phelps’ time of 1:46.28 sees him through to the final with the fourth-fastest
time.

6. Monday, Aug 11 - 4×100m freestyle - final

Phelps is the lead swimmer for the US team and hands over second behind Australian Eamon Sullivan, who swims a world record over 100m during the relay. The US lies behind France at the last turn, but the oldest US swimmer in the team, Jason Lezak, pulls out all the stops as he takes the team past the French on the last metres. The US break their own world record by an astonishing 3.99 seconds and finishes in 3:08.24.

Phelps wins his second gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to eight golds and two bronze overall.

7. Monday, Aug 11 - 200m butterfly - heat 6

Phelps breaks his own Olympic record of 1:54.04 as he wins in a time of 1:53.70, beating Japan’s Kaio Almeida into second place. Phelps swims the fastest time to qualify for the semi-finals.

8. Tuesday, Aug 12 - 200m freestyle - final

Phelps beats South Korean 400m champion Park with a world record swim, taking 0.90 seconds off his own world record. Phelps wins in 1:42.96. Fellow American Vanderkaay wins bronze behind Phelps and Park.

Phelps wins his third gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to nine golds and two bronze overall. He ties with four other athletes on nine gold medals as the most successful Olympian of all-times.

9. Tuesday, Aug 12 - 200m butterfly - semi-final 2

Phelps equals his own Olympic record of 1:53.70 as he beats local favourite Wu Peng into second place. Once again, he has to come from behind to win on the final 50m, but manages to outclass his opposition comfortably. He qualifies for the final with the fastest time.

10. Tuesday, Aug 12 - 4×200m freestyle relay - heat 2

The US B team sets a new Olympic record as they beat Great Britain into second place in the heat. The Americans, who again had some of their best swimmers sitting out the race, finish in a time of 7:04.66 to beat the previous record held by Australia. They qualify for the
finals with the fastest time.

Phelps does not swim in the heat.

11. Wednesday, Aug 13 - 200m butterfly - final

Phelps breaks his fourth world record of the meet as he wins the gold medal ahead of Cseh and Takeshi Matsuda in a time of 1:52.03. He starts the race strong and takes the lead after the first turn and never looks back.

Phelps wins fourth gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to 10 golds and two bronze overall. He becomes the all-time leading Olympian with 10 gold medals.

12. Wednesday, Aug 13 - 4×200m freestyle - final

Phelps again is the leading swimmer for the US team as they become the first team to swim under 7 minutes, taking close to five seconds of their own world record. They win in 6:58.56, comfortably beating Russia and Australia into second and third place.

Phelps wins fifth gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to 11 golds and two bronze overall.

13. Wednesday, Aug 13 - 200m individual medley - heat 6

Phelps wins his heat ahead of Japan’s Takuro Fujii in a time of 1:58.65 and easily qualifies for the semi-finals. He has the sixth-fastest time.

14. Thursday, Aug 14 - 200m individual medley - semi-final

Phelps beats Cseh into second place in his semi-final and wins in a time of 1:57.70, distancing the Hungarian by 0.49 seconds. Phelps was again fourth after the first turn, then moved into second and was first by the last turn. He goes into the final with the second-fastest time.

15. Thursday, Aug 14 - 100m butterfly - heat 9

Phelps is second in his heat to Serbian Milorad Cavic, who wins in a time of 50.76, establishing a new Olympic record. Phelps’ time of 50.87 sees him through to the semi-finals with the second-fastest time.

16. Friday, Aug 15 - 200m individual medley - final

In a re-run of the 400m individual medley, Phelps finishes first in world record time ahead of Cseh and Lochte. Phelps’ time of 1:54.23 is 0.57 faster than his own world record and he wins by more than two seconds from the Hungarian.

Phelps wins sixth gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to 12 golds and two bronze overall.

17. Friday, Aug 15 - 100m butterfly - semi final 1

Phelps is sixth at the first turn, but manages to move past the rest of the field on the final 50m to win the semi-final in a time of 50.97, beating Australian Andrew Lauterstein and Kenyan Jason Dunford into second and third place. His time is the second-fastest.

18. Friday, Aug 15 - 4×100m medley relay - heat 2

Again the US send in a second-string team without the likes of Phelps, but the side is strong enough to comfortably win their heat ahead of Russia and a surprisingly strong team from New Zealand. They qualify for the final with the fastest time.

Phelps does not swim in the heat.

19. Saturday, Aug 16 - 100m butterfly - final

Phelps looks well beaten as he is seventh at the final turn, but an amazing run on the final 50m sees him draw level with Cavic at the end. With one stroke remaining Phelps opts to cut his stroke shorter and attempt a quicker stroke. His gamble pays off as he beats Cavic by one hundredth of a second - the smallest possible margin.

The Serbian team lodges a protest, but it is turned down. Phelps wins in Olympic record time - the only final in which he does not swim a world record. His time of 50.58 breaks Cavic’s Olympic record of 50.76.

Phelps wins seventh gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to 13 golds and two bronze overall. He equals the record of seven gold medals at an individual Games set by Mark Spitz in 1972.

20. Sunday, Aug 17 - 4×100m medley relay - final

Phelps is the third swimmer for the US team and although he takes over in third place, he manages to hand over to final swimmer Jason Lezak with a lead.

Lezak holds of a challenge from Australian 100m world record holder Eamon Sullivan to give his side the win in world record time of 3:29.34, beating their own world record from 2004 by 1.34 seconds.

The silver went to Australia in 3:30.04, who were also under the old best mark, while Japan took bronze in 3:31.18.

Phelps wins his eighth gold medal in Beijing to take his tally to 14 golds and two bronze overall.

His Beijing tally makes him the most successful athlete at any individual Olympic Games. He breaks the world record in seven of his eight finals.
DPA

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