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Michael Phelps was a built-in star coming into the Summer Games in Beijing, since he had won six gold medals in the 2004 Athens Games. But even then he surpassed expectations. In his first six events, Phelps not only won gold medals but set world records. It was a foregone conclusion that his eighth event, the 4-by-100 medley relay, would produce a gold and a probable world record, so all that was left was the 100 butterfly. "This was where TV would show its best, since a mere description would never have worked," said McManus. Phelps was behind the Serbian Milorad Cavic going into the final stretch, but he shortened one stroke while Cavic stayed in his longer form and touched the wall a mere one-one-hundredth of a second sooner. It was the only race in Beijing where Phelps did not set a world record, but his eight golds sealed him as a celebrity.
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times
May. 23, 2012