Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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American swimmer Michael Phelps hinted that the 2012 London Olympics may be his last Summer Games. He also declared that he will never compete in eight events again and aimed at trying new events in the next Olympics. He said he might not participate in the 4?100 m medley relay and 400-m individual medley and try some different events.

?I won't be doing eight again. It just depends what kind of shape I'm in at that point and what I think my body can handle under those circumstances,? said Phelps.

Phelps so far has won 16 Olympic medals. He won six gold and two bronze medals in Athens in 2004, and eight gold medals in Beijing in 2008. He grabbed the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics, breaking the feat of American swimmer Mark Spitz who won seven gold medals in Munich in 1972. However, his total record is second only to Soviet gymnast Larissa Lalynina who won 18 medals over three Olympics, including nine golds. He is set to break that record in London.

At six feet four inches, with long torso and arm span of six feet seven inches to help him paddle through the water speedily, Phelps? physique is suited for swimming. Also, he has short legs that also enable him to swim quickly. His big size 14 feet serve as flippers when he swims.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Phelps won gold medals in the 100 m butterfly, 200 m butterfly, 4?100 m freestyle relay, 4?200 m freestyle relay, 4?100 m medley relay, 200 m freestyle, 200 m individual medley, and 400 m individual medley. Except for the 100 m butterfly where he set an Olympic record, all other seven events were won in world record time.

His arch-rival in the 100-m butterfly final, Serbian swimmer Milorad Cavic challenged Phelps when he declared he would like the American swimmer to lose and fail to get the coveted eight gold medals. But Phelps took up the challenge. On August 16, 2008, Phelps won his seventh gold medal of the Games in that event, setting an Olympic record for the event with a time of 50.58 seconds and beating Cavic, by 1/100 of a second, the slimmest margin.

Phelps's 0.01-second margin ahead of Cavic provoked the Serbian team to file a protest. But Olympic officials confirmed Phelp?s victory by a video analysis of the photo finish. Cavic later declared, "People, this is the greatest moment of my life. If you ask me, it should be accepted and we should move on. I've accepted defeat, and there's nothing wrong with losing to the greatest swimmer there has ever been".

Mark Spitz praised him after winning his 7th gold medals and tying his single Olympic gold haul. ?It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he's maybe the greatest athlete of all time. He's the greatest racer who ever walked the planet,? said Spitz.

On August 17, 2008, Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the men's 4?100-m medley relay, breaking Spitz's record. Butterflier Phelps, along with teammates breaststroker Brendan Hansen, backstroker Aaron Peirsol, and freestyler Jason Lezak, set a new world record in the event with a time of 3 minutes and 29.34 seconds, 0.7 second ahead of second-place Australia and 1.34 seconds faster than the previous record set by the United States team during the 2004 Athens Olympics.

When it was Phelps? turn to swim the 100-m butterfly leg, the third leg of the 400-meter medley relay, the United States relay team was behind Australia and Japan. Phelps completed his swim in 50.1 seconds, the fastest butterfly split ever for the relay event, and it gave Lezak more than half-second lead for the final freestyle leg, which he maintained to win the gold in world record time.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.

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