Swimmer Phelps wins a sixth gold medal at Beijing
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, August 14, 2008 11:25PM EDT
Michael Phelps made it 6-for-6 at the Beijing Olympics, winning another gold medal Friday and closing in on Mark Spitz with another world record.
Phelps dominated right from the start of the 200-metre individual medley and won in one minute 54.23 seconds. He knocked off his own mark of 1:54.80 set at last month's U.S. trials, his sixth world record of the games.
Ryan Lochte tried to pull off a daunting double, going against Phelps just 29 minutes after swimming the final of the 200 backstroke.
Lochte couldn't keep up, though he did hold on for bronze. Laszlo Cseh of Hungary picked up his third silver of the games -- all of them trailing Phelps.
In the last Olympic race of his career, Keith Beavers of Orangeville, Ont., finished seventh in 1:59.43. He had finished eighth in the semifinals.
Phelps hung on the lane rope in a familiar pose, admiring his time while his rivals gasped for breath. He extended his right hand to Lochte in the next lane, and the two friends shook hands and patted each other on the head.
Lochte got quite a consolation price: a world record and the first individual gold medal of his career in the backstroke. The laid-back American edged teammate Aaron Peirsol in 1:53.94 to break the mark he shared with Peirsol.
Phelps is just one gold away from tying Spitz's record of seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The 23-year-old Phelps was scheduled to return for the semifinals of the 100 butterfly about a half-hour after his win in the 200 IM; assuming he advances, he's try to equal the grandest of Olympic standards on Saturday.
If all goes according to plan, the record-breaker would come on Sunday's final day of swimming in the 4x100 medley relay. The Americans will be heavily favoured for gold in that one.
Rebecca Soni gave the U.S. women's swim team a much-needed boost, setting a world record in the 200 breaststroke with an upset of Australia's Leisel Jones.
Soni had already claimed a surprising silver behind Jones in the 100 breaststroke, a race she wasn't even supposed to be in. She took over when Jessica Hardy failed a doping test at the U.S. trials and was dropped from the team.
Jones was out front over the first 100, but Soni came on strong at the end, finishing a full body length ahead of the Aussie in 2:20.22. She beat Jones' mark of 2:20.54, set two 2 1/2 years ago in Melbourne.
Jones claimed silver and Norway's Sara Nordenstam took bronze.
Edmonton's Annamay Pierse finished sixth in 2:23.77, breaking her own Canadian record set Thursday in the semifinals. She was competing in her first Olympics.
Lochte's win was the 20th world record set in swimming during the Olympics, with two days still to go.