Monday, August 11, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Phelps grabs second gold in relay win
400-meter relay team
helps Phelps in quest
for eight medals .
BEIJING (AP) - By a fingertip,
Michael Phelps is still on course
for eight gold medals. He can
thank Jason Lezak for getting him
The oldest man on the U.S.
swimming team pulled off one of
the great comebacks in Olympic
history Monday morning, lunging
to the wall just ahead of France's
Alain Bernard in a race so fast
it actually erased two world
Few sporting events live up the
hype - this one exceeded it. The
32-year-old Lezak was nearly a
body length behind the massive
Bernard as they made the final
But the American hugged the
lane rope, drafting off the French-
man and stunningly overtaking
him on the very last stroke.
Watching on deck, Phelps let
out a resounding "Yeaaaaaah!"
and thrust both arms toward the
roof of the Water Cube.
His quest to break Mark Spitz's
record of seven gold medals had
survived what will likely be its
The Americans shattered the
world record set by their "B" team
the previous evening in the pre-
liminaries, touching with a time of
3 minute, 8.24 seconds - nearly 4
full seconds below the 15-hour-old
mark of 3:12.23.
"I was going nuts," Phelps, who
swam the leadoff leg and then
became the team's biggest cheer-
leader, told NBC. "As soon as
(Lezak) came off that last wall, I
started going crazy.
"We're a team. We went in as a
team and now we're exiting as a
team - and we're going out with
that gold that we needed to get
The Americans won the 400
free relay at seven straight Olym-
pics, but watched the Australians
and South Africans take gold at
the last two games.
"I've been on the last two relays
where we come up short," Lezak
said. "To be honest with you I got
really tired of losing."
Iernard was the world record
holder in the 100, but he lost that
mark as well. Australia's Eamon
Sullivan broke the individual
record by swimming the leadoff
leg in 47.24 - ahead of Bernard's
mark of 47.50.
While the Americans whooped
it up on deck, Bernard clung to the
wall, his head down.
The swimmer who had talked
confidently of beating the Ameri-
cans was the last one to leave the
The French were second in
3:08.32 - eight one-hundredths
of a second behind. Australia took
the bronze in 3:09.91. In fact, the
top five all went below the record
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