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BREAKING 2008 OLYMPICS 8-17-08 Michael Phelps: Olympics History With Eight Gold Medals
Sunday, Aug 17, 2008 8:40pm
BEIJING, CHINA From ESPN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING OLYMPICS RECORD: 11pm 8-17-08  The "wunderkind swimmer" better known as Michael Phelps is now the official record holder of the most gold medals ever won in Olympics' history: 14. 

First, Phelps tied Mark Spitz with 7 gold medals in a single games, by winning the 100 meter butterfly by .01 of a second. 

Then, with over 66 million eyes on him during the NBC telecast, young Phelps swam the final leg of the 4 x 100 meter relay, bringing home the gold, and eclipsing Mark Spitz' record. 

In his article: "
An embodiment of the Olympic ideal, Michael Phelps saved the Games," Pat Forde, from ESPN.com writes this powervful story:

BEIJING -- According to archaeologists and historians, mankind has been working at this organized sports business since roughly 4000 B.C. Some think the Chinese might have started the whole thing.

Sunday morning in the putative birthplace of sports, we saw the endeavor elevated to a new plane by Michael Phelps. We witnessed the apotheosis of the athlete -- 6,000 years in the making; 30 minutes, 51.68 seconds in the perfecting.

That's the combined length of time Phelps swam to win his Olympic-record eight gold medals, to set seven world records, to swim five lifetime-best individual times, to endure two great escapes, and to become the singular competitor in species history.

Over nine days and 17 swims, he was in the water for roughly the length of a sitcom. It turned out to be the greatest TV many Americans have ever witnessed.

NBC said 66 million people tuned in to at least six minutes of its prime-time telecast Friday, when Phelps somehow won the 100-meter butterfly by one-hundredth of a second for his seventh gold medal. That dwarfs virtually any non-Super Bowl sporting event, and it proves one thing:

Michael Phelps single-handedly saved the Olympics. These Beijing Olympics, and perhaps those to come. The entire enterprise has new life.

The new motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius, Phelpsius.

Faster, higher, stronger, greater.

Before these Games, the prevailing sentiment I heard was that the Olympics had lost its allure. They were considered passť. Too long and too arcane and too compromised by drugs and politics and commercialism. In Football America, fewer people than ever seemed to care.

And then, Phelps zipped up his Speedo and got busy.

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