Record 10th Gold Medal for Phelps After Butterfly
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BEIJING — Tied no more. Michael Phelps swam into history as the winningest Olympic athlete ever with his 10th career gold medal — and fourth world record of the Beijing Games.
A day after etching his name alongside Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis with gold No. 9, Phelps claimed the record all to himself when he won the 200-meter butterfly Wednesday morning.
Phelps had a problem with his goggles — but that didn’t keep him from touching first.
He’s now all alone at the top, with four more chances to stretch his lead before he leaves China. He was scheduled to come back later in the morning to swim the leadoff of the 800 freestyle relay for the heavily favored Americans.
In the fly, his signature stroke, Phelps was second at the first flip, then pushed it into another gear, his long arms gobbling up huge chunks of water as he literally sailed along atop the surface. He touched the wall in 1 minutes, 52.03 seconds, breaking his mark of 1:52.09 from last year’s world championships.
He barely smiled as he looked at the board, breathing heavily and hanging on the lane rope. Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh really pushed it at the end, but settled for silver in 1:52.70. Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda took the bronze in 1:52.97.
Phelps rubbed his eyes and said climbing from the pool, “I can’t see anything.” A pair of leaky goggles kept him from even seeing the wall as he finished.
Still, it was another gold and another record, taking Phelps halfway to his goal of beating Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in a single games.
“My goggles kept filling up with water during the race,” he said. “I wanted a world record, I wanted 1:51 or better, but in the circumstances not too bad I guess.”
Everyone wanted to get a look at history, including the U.S. men’s basketball team. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony were among those cheering on Phelps from poolside seats. James posed for pictures with Phelps’ mom, Debbie.