US swimmer Michael Phelps claims his seventh gold medal Mark Spitz has no qualms about handing over his 36-year title of king of the Olympic pool to Michael Phelps, calling him the best ever.

Phelps, 23, on Saturday matched Spitz’s record of winning seven gold medals at one Olympics with a fingertip victory in the men’s 100 metre butterfly final.

This not only puts him on a par with Spitz’s record but also gives him a shot at topping that by bagging an eighth gold when he competes in his final event on Sunday, the 4×100 medley relay.

“I think that he can be called, Michael, the best Olympian of all time, more so not because he has more gold medals than anybody but in the way he’s handled himself and in the way he’s actually won under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Spitz told United States television network NBC.

Spitz, 58, said he always knew someone would eventually match the benchmark he set at 1972 Munich Games.

He called Phelps’s performance “epic” and said the Baltimore native represents “an inspiration to youngsters around the world”.

As Phelps has bagged gold after gold at Beijing, the world’s media had been hunting for Spitz to get his reaction to the swimmer attacking his record after 36 years.

There were rumours that he was in Beijing, then that he was in Hong Kong, and then that he was at home in California.

However it turned out he was in Detroit, watching one of his two sons play in a basketball tournament.

After Saturday’s race Phelps told NBC that he thought he had lost the race that earned him a extra $US1 million from sponsor Speedo, which promised him a bonus if he matched Spitz’s record.

“As soon as I took the last half stroke, to be honest, I thought I had lost the race,” he told the US network that bought exclusive broadcasting rights to the August 8-24 Games.

“And that was the difference, ’cause if I would have glided then I would have come up short. I’ve been lucky enough over the last four years to have two pretty good finishes in Olympic finals. I guess I’m blessed.”

Whether he wins an eighth gold medal or not, Phelps will leave Beijing as the most successful Olympian of all time.

By Saturday he had lifted his gold medal tally to 13, which tops the previous record of nine held jointly by Spitz, U.S. sprinter Carl Lewis, Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina.

Source : abc.net.au /Reuters

Advertisements

Highlights

Men’s 200-meter individual medley

Michael Phelps won his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics with a world-record time of 1:54.23 in the final of the men’s 200m individual medley. The gold puts him one gold medal away from Mark Spitz‘s individual record of seven gold medals at a single Olympiad, set at the Munich Olympics in 1972. It was also his sixth world record, also one short of a single-Olympiad record set by Spitz as well.

Hungarian László Cseh won the silver medal with a time of 1:56.52, an European record. Cseh out-touched American Ryan Lochte, the bronze medal winner, by 0.01 seconds (1:56.53).

The previous world record time was 1:54.80, set by Phelps at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebrasha.

Men’s 50m freestyle

In the first semifinal of the men’s 50m freestyle, Cesar Cielo Filho set a new Olympic record with a time of 21.34 seconds, 0.12 seconds ahead of the previous Olympic record and 0.06 seconds behind the current world record.

“It was a great race. The 50m is so fast and it was my best-ever race,” said Filho after the race. ‘I’m in lane four [in the final]. I’ll just do my best and focus on my own race and will touch the wall with my best performance.”

Women’s 200m breaststroke

American Rebecca Soni net a new world record and won the gold medal in the final of the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:20.22.

Leisel Jones, who was representing Australia, took the silver medal, while Sara Nordenstam finished in third place with a time of 2:23.02, less than one second behind Jones’ time of 2:22.05.

Women’s 75kg weightlifting

The Chinese Cao Lei set a new world record and won the gold medal women’s 75kg weightlifting. Her score of 282 beat the competitor who took the silver medal by sixteen points.

“I was excited and overjoyed because I won the seventh gold medal for Chinese weightlifting,” she said, after the event.

Men’s individual pursuit

British Bradley Wiggins set a new Olympic record in qualifying round of the men’s individual pursuit with a time of 4:15.031 and an average speed of 56.463 km/h.

Hayden Roulston, who was representing New Zealand, finished in second place, while Alexei Markov finished in third place with a time of 4:21.498.

Women’s artistic gymnastics individual all-around

American Nastia Liukin won the gold medal in the women’s individual all-around in artistic gymnastics. She is the daughter of former Soviet Union gymnast Valeri Liukin, who won a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Her total score was 63.325: 15.025 in vault, 16.650 in uneven bars, 16.125 in balance beam and 15.525 in floor exercise. Her scores at balance beam and floor exercise were the top scores for the individual all-around competition.

Her American teammate, Shawn Johnson, won the silver medal with a total score of 62.725. Johnson had the top score in the vault, with a score of 15.875. Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin won the bronze medal with a total score of 61.925. Yang had the top score in the uneven bars, with a score of 16.725.

Medal Table


Ara Abrahamian, an Armenian-born wrestler from Sweden, received a bronze medal in the 84kg class of Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian throws away medal in Olympic hissy fit  Greco-Roman wrestling. During the award ceremony on Thursday, Abrahamian stepped down from the podium, took off his medal and dropped it onto the wrestling mat. He then angrily left and was later quoted as saying “I don’t care about this medal. I wanted gold.”

Abrahamian was upset about a decision in his semi-final loss to eventual gold medal winner Andrea Minguzzi from Italy. His coach, Leo Myllari, seemed to agree that he had been unfairly treated by the judges. “It’s all politics,” Myllari said, though he did not indicate if he was going to file an official protest.

Abrahamian participated in the bronze-medal bout, but only after friends pleaded with him. “I decided that I had come this far and didn’t want to let them down, so I wrestled,” said Abrahamian. “This will be my last match. I wanted to take gold, so I consider this Olympics a failure,” the 33-year-old Swede said. Abrahamian won a silver medal back in the 2004 summer olympics in Athens.

“Certainly one can always question decisions made in the course of refereeing, but in sports it is appropriate to show sportsmanship and accept the results,” said gold-winner Minguzzi, who was unhappy that his celebration was spoiled.

The International Olympic Committee said there will be a disciplinary hearing

Men’s 100m backstroke

American Aaron Peirsol set a new world record and won the gold medal in the final of the men’s 100m backstroke with a time of 52.54 seconds.

Matt Grevers, who was representing the US with Peirsol, took the silver medal, while Arkady Vyatchanin and Hayden Stoeckel tied for third place with a time of 53.18.

Men’s 200m freestyle

American Michael Phelps set a new world record and won the gold medal in the final of the men’s 200m freestyle with a time of 1:42.96 minutes.

Taehwan Park, who was representing South Korea, finished in second place and set a new Asian record, while Peter Vanderkaay, who was representing the US with Phelps, finished in third place with a time of 1:45.14.

Phelps beat the old world record by almost one second. The Australian reported that Phelps ‘shattered’ the previous world record, which was also set by him.

Women’s 100m breaststroke

Australian Leisel Jones won the gold medal and set a new Olympic record in the final of the women’s 100m breaststroke with a time of 1:05.17 minutes.

“It has been a long journey. It’s been a long eight years,” said Jones, after her victory. “And I think just a lot of relief that the training was definitely worth it.”

Rebecca Soni, who was representing United States, won the silver medal, while Mirna Jukic finished in third place with a time of 1:07.34.

Men’s double trap

American Walton Eller set a new Olympic record in the qualification round of the men’s double trap with a score of 145.

Francesco D Aniello, who was representing Italy, finished in second place, while Jeffrey Hologuin, who represented the US with Eller, finished in third place with a score of 140.

Men’s 200m butterfly

American Michael Phelps set a new Olympic record when he finished in first place in heat six of the men’s 200m butterfly with a time of 1:53.70. This record is one of several set by Phelps during the Olympic games.

Kaio Almeida, who was representing Brazil, finished in second place, while Takeshi Matsuda finished in third place with a time of 1:55.06, 1.36 seconds behind the time set by Phelps.

Women’s 200m individual medley

Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry set a new Olympic Record in semifinal of the women’s 200m individual medley with a time of 2:09.53 minutes. Coventry’s first fifty second were the quickest, with her first length taking only 29.17 seconds.

Stephanie Rice, who was representing Australia, finished in second place, while Katie Hoff finished in third place with a time of 2:10.90, just over one second behind the time achieved by Coventry.

Medal Table


Source : wikinews