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America's Michael Phelps with 7 World Records and 8 Gold Medals in Beijing Olympics Becomes the World's Hero As Well

Michael Phelps after winning his 8th gold medal in Beijing Olympics. Photo credit: Adam Pretty/Getty Images
via en.beijing2008.cn

New York, August 16, 2008 - The 23-year-old American swimmer Michael Phelps today won his 8 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics and, after 36 years, broke Mark Spitz’s single Games record of seven gold medals. Mark Andrew Spitz, also an American swimmer, won seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games which was held in Munich, then West Germany.

  (L-R) Hansen, Phelps, Peirsol and Lezak hold the American flag (Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images) via en.beijing2008.cn

On Sunday morning in Beijing, China, Phelps and his teammates Jason Lezak, Aaron Peirsol and Brendan Hansen won gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay which helped Phelps earn his eighth gold medal and surpass Spitz's record.

At 6 feet 4 inches tall with an arm span of 6 feet 7 inches and amazing spirit and skill, Phelps is indeed the greatest swimmer in world history.

Michael Phelps. Doug Mills/The New York Times (nytimes.com)

The flip side of his life is the challenge of living with A.D.H.D.(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), diagnosed when he was a young boy, that made it almost impossible to pay attention in school, so much so that one of his teachers predicted only failure. But when he discovered swimming his life changed. His constant motion and inability to sit still combined with a keen interest in swimming gave him what he required to excel in his chosen sport.

Phelps giving live interview to NBC TV. Photo: eEyeCam via NBC TV live Olympics coverage.

This morning (Beijing time) when he won his eighth medal, back home in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, more than 70 thousand fans were gathered in a stadium cheering his historic victory. Michael Phelps has quickly become an icon.

Phelps reaching to his mother and his two sisters. Photo: eEyeCam via NBC TV live Olympics coverage.

His mother Deborah Phelps and his two sisters were cheering him on at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing. After his final victory he climbed into the audience to hug and kiss his mother and sisters who raised him as the average boy next door, in spite of his ADHD diagnosis, and look, here he is, the greatest swimming champion of all time.

And talking about his Gold toll, he has won 14 gold medals during his 3 Olympics competitions in 2000, 2004 & 2008. He has brought home more gold medals than anyone else in the history of the Olympic Games.

After all is said and done, that's not bad at all.

Cheers to all in the sports fraternity.

-Pradeep Thapa Magar in New York. Comments? 551-358-7726

Phelps giving live interview to NBC TV. Photo: eEyeCam via NBC TV live Olympics coverage.

NBC's Sports Commentator and host Bob Costas interviewing Phelps after the 8th gold medal win. Photo: eEyeCam via NBC TV live Olympics coverage.

Other names: PHELPS II, Michael
Born: 30 June 1985
Birthplace: Baltimore (USA)
Nationality: USA
Sport: Aquatics
Sydney 2000
Athens 2004

Olympic medals:
Gold: 6
Bronze: 2

Eight swimming medals in one Olympics

When he was only 15 years old, Michael Phelps competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, placing fifth in the 200m butterfly. The following year he broke the world record for the event, becoming, at age 15 years 9 months, the youngest male ever to set a swimming world record.

Four months later, he won his first world championship, setting another world record in the 200 butterfly. Phelps caused a sensation at the 2003 World Championships. Not only did he earn four gold medals and two silver medals, but he set four world records. In 2004, he became the first swimmer to qualify for the Olympics in six individual events. (He decided not to compete in the 200m backstroke).

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Phelps began his assault on the record books on the first day of competition, winning the 400m individual medley by 3 ½ seconds and setting a world record. The next day he added a bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay, and the day after that he picked up another bronze by setting a personal record in the 200m freestyle.

On 17 August Phelps beat out Takashi Yamamoto of Japan to win the 200m butterfly and, an hour later, he swam the leadoff leg for the U.S. 4x200m freestyle relay team that held off the Australians and gained the victory. Phelps' next gold-medal victory came in the 200m individual medley, which he won by 1.64 seconds.

In the 100m butterfly, he barely out touched teammate Ian Crocker for his seventh medal. Finally, Phelps gained a gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay by swimming the preliminary heats. By so doing, he joined gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin as the only athletes to earn eight medals at a single Olympics.

Credit: IOC, en.beijing2008.cn

Read our special feature presentation at:

Olympics update: Winners of the Beijing Olympics: Country, Gold, Silver, Bronze= Total
Lenka's Olympic Dream Becomes Real After 22 Years in Trampoline
» Profiles of 8 Nepalese Athletes Competing in Beijing Olympics
» Nepalese Olympians Hope to Break Their Own National Records in Beijing
» Beijing Olympic 2008: Facts That You Need to Know
» 20 American Mothers in Beijing Olympics
  596 American Athletes will compete in all 30 Games of the Olympics

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