For the record:
â€¢ By the end of the swimming program, Phelps played a part in 47 percent of Americaâ€™s 17 overall gold medals and three-quarters of its 12 swimming medals. The contribution is made more significant by the fact that no Americans took silver in any of his five individual events.
â€¢ His 16 career medals â€“ eight gold in Beijing and six gold, two bronze in Athens â€“ rank him only behind Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina, who won 18 medals in three Olympics from 1956 to 1964.
â€¢ His eight gold medals are the most ever by an athlete in a single Games. His 14 career gold medals are also a record. In fact, he nearly equaled the previous record for most career gold medals â€“ nine â€“ in this Olympics alone. The record was held by Latynina, American swimmer Mark Spitz, American sprinter and long jumper Carl Lewis, and Paavo Nurmi, a Finnish long-distance runner from the 1920s.
â€¢ He broke or had a part in breaking seven world records in his eight events. Only in the 100-meter butterfly did he or his relay team not establish a world record.
Simply put, this man is simply a machine. But there’s more… during the 200-meter butterfly he started off with water in his goggles. That’s right, he was handycapped from the beginning and still broke a world record.
Phelps said, â€œI could just swim, thatâ€™s the only thing I could do at that point. I couldnâ€™t take them off; I had two caps on. I couldnâ€™t rip them off; I couldnâ€™t fix them. I couldnâ€™t empty the water out. â€¦I couldnâ€™t see. I was trying to see the T on the bottom, trying to judge my turn and the finish, but I was more or less just sort of counting strokes. I sort of know how many strokes I take per 50 and I was hoping that I was going to be dead on and that I was going to be able to hit the wall perfectly. I was able to get my hand on the wall first and it was a best time, but I think I was just disappointed that, that I know I can go faster than that and it just disappoints me that my goggles â€” I did have a malfunction â€” but thereâ€™s nothing I can do and I handled the situation the best way that I could.â€