Phelps’s Epic Journey Ends in Perfection

Michael Phelps celebrates his eighth gold medal of the Beijing Games, which breaks Mark Spitz's mark of seven, set in 1972 at Munich.

Michael Phelps celebrates his eighth gold medal of the Beijing Games, which breaks Mark Spitz

Michael Phelps went on Sunday where no man has been before to win a record eighth gold at one Olympics and better Mark Spitz’s landmark 1972 feat.

Phelps held his arms aloft and hugged team mates after a relatively easy men’s 4×100 meters medley relay win unlike the finger-tip finishes in two of his earlier Beijing golds.

The all-time most successful Olympian, who has over nine days in China proved himself to be one of the greatest sportsmen the world has seen, showed he was still human, though.

“I just want to see my mom,” he said after a series of swims which will net him $1 million in sponsors’ bonuses alone.

Phelps’s 14th career gold, after six in Athens, took him past fellow American Spitz’s record seven at one Games in Munich. He has five more now than any other Olympian in the 112-year history of the Games.

He is the first and only Olympian to ever do this in the 112-year history.

“It’s been nothing but an upwards rollercoaster but it’s been nothing but fun,” he added at his moment of triumph, embracing his tearful mother and sister. “With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.”

Phelps achievement has dazzled the Chinese hosts, for whom eight is a lucky number, and brought welcome cheer to Americans during hard times.

“The economy and gas prices are always on your mind but Michael’s success helps you forget depressing things,” Los Angeles resident Samantha Higgins said among tens of millions glued to Phelps’s every race on TV in the United States.

NOTE: Check back later today as I will have a a more detailed blog about Michael and his accomplishments during the course of these Games.

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~ by Digory Kirke on August 17, 2008.

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