Michael Phelps wins the men's 200m butterfly gold medal American wunderkind Michael Phelps became the most successful Olympian in history with 11 gold medals after victory in the 200 metres butterfly and 4x200m relay finals at the Water Cube.

The 23-year old won his fourth gold medal of the Beijing Games in another world record performance of 1:52.03, improving on his time of 1:52.09 set at last year’s world championships in Melbourne.

Phelps then backed up an hour later to lead off the American relay team which smashed its own world record to win the 4x200m final.

The superfish has added to the six gold medals he won in Athens and overtakes the legendary group of Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina, who each won nine Olympic golds.

The wins also keep alive Phelps’s bid to surpass Spitz’s seven gold medals at a single Games set at Munich in 1972.

Phelps finished more than half-a-second ahead of Hungarian Laszlo Cseh in the 200m fly, who touched in 1:52.70.

Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda took bronze in a time of 1:52.97.

Phelps says the enormity of his achievements is beginning to sink in.

“When I was on the award ceremony for the 200 fly, I started thinking about it.

“That’s when I started tearing up.

“To be at the top with so many great athletes who’ve walked in these Olympic games, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Phelps’s triumph in the event in which he has owned the world record since 2001 was not the same kind of dominant display as his victory in the 200m freestyle on Tuesday, but he said there was a reason for that.

“My goggles were filling up with water during the race, and I had trouble seeing the wall,” he said.

“I wanted the world record. I wanted a 1:51 or better, but given the circumstances it’s not too bad, I guess.”

With the relay final scheduled later in the session, Phelps had no time to contemplate his place in history.

“He won’t appreciate the history of what is happening here until later, maybe years later,” Phelps’s coach Bob Bowman said.

Prior to Wednesday’s finals, Phelps had won the 400m individual medley, 200m freestyle and was a member of the United States 4x100m relay team that took gold ahead of France in a stunning final.

He still has the 4x100m medley relay, 200m individual medley and 100m butterfly on his program, but has said with the gruelling 400m IM and relay wins, the hardest part of his eight-gold quest is behind him.

Latynina and fellow Soviet gymnast Nikolai Andrianov hold the record for the most medals in all, with 18 for women and 15 for men respectively, but with at least one more Games left in him Phelps could break all records.

Source –ABC

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