Phelps' Golden Touch This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 18, 2008
By
In Chinese culture, eight is a lucky number. At the 29th Olympic Games, swimmer Michael Phelps began his quest to break records. On August 16, 2008, the U.S. realized that eight would become an important number for Phelps.

At his first Olympics in Athens, Phelps won eight medals – six gold and two bronze. At the start of the Beijing games he had the potential to become the most decorated Olympic champion and to break the record for most gold medals earned in one Olympic games.

We now know that Phelps broke both of these records, but not without some close calls. The first challenge was the 4-by-100 freestyle relay. This event, coming after some trash talk from the French relay team, proved very exciting. After a close start, the French pulled ahead in the third leg. But the race wasn’t over – Jason Lezak had a surprisingly big finish. The come-from-­behind win truly was ­exhilarating for the spectators and the relay team, including Michael Phelps.

The next race that posed a challenge was the 200-meter butterfly. Although Phelps won the race and beat the world record with what looked like ease, his goggles apparently posed a problem. In an interview with NBC, Phelps called it a “wardrobe malfunction” – water began flooding his goggles. He said that it got so bad he had to rely on counting his strokes. This win gave him the new record for most decorated Olympic ­athlete, surpassing U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz, Ukrainian gymnast Larissa Latynina, U.S. runner Carl Lewis, and Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi.

Now, with a major record surpassed, Phelps could ­focus on earning the most gold medals in a single Olympics. In reaching this record, Phelps had one of the best finishes ever. In the 100-meter butterfly final, ­Phelps’ biggest opponents were his U.S. teammate Ian Crocker and Serbia’s ­Milorad Cavic. The finish proved priceless, with a margin of one hundredth of a second ­between Phelps’ gold medal and Cavic’s silver.

Phelps’ last race was the 400-meter medley ­relay. After a brilliant third leg by Phelps, ­anchor Jason Lezak won it with a new world record.

After a week of swimming, Phelps has made history. He broke the record set by Mark Spitz for most gold medals in one Olympics, and surpassed numerous athletes for the most career Olympic gold medals. He also set new world record times in seven of his eight events, and, on another note, provided viewers with wonderful reactions from his two sisters and mother. He even beat out celebrities like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and Will Smith for the number of times he was searched on Facebook.

Michael Phelps is only 23 and on top of the world. Some call him the golden fish or King ­Midas, ­because everything he touches sure seems to turn to gold.


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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

KitnKat said...
Oct. 10, 2008 at 8:47 pm
Not having followed Michael Phelps olympic career that closly we can't comment on the accuracy of the article but it was so well written that we felt we had been there--and wish we had!
 
swimmer27 said...
Aug. 26, 2008 at 9:48 pm
After having watched all of these races and cheered with the rest of the world, I found your article to be a well-written summary, and also extremely accurate. Nice job. :)
 
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