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After gold, Clary has another dream in mind

Posted by Scott Thurston, Globe Staff August 6, 2012 02:39 PM


LONDON -- When these gilded American swimmers leave London and return home, off to do the obligatory sitdowns with Letterman and Leno, Hoda and Kathie Lee, Kelly and whomever, the inevitable question (after “how does it feel?’’ of course) will be “So what are you going to do next?’’

Michael Phelps is retiring and wants to travel the world, maybe play some golf. Ryan Lochte is going to jump back in the pool and is eyeing Rio in 2016. Ditto 17-year-old Missy Franklin and 15-year-old Katie Ledecky.

As for Tyler Clary, 23, who set an Olympic record in winning the 200-meter backstroke, he’s likely to keep on going, too, But what he really aspires to do after he’s done splashing around is to sit for a while. Behind the wheel.

“I want to take a serious shot at being a professional race car driver after swimming’s over,’’ he said in an interview on SPEED that aired Sunday night. “ It’s funny because when you initially tell people that, you get laughs, complete surprise, but I know that this is something I could be really good at.''

Clary, 23, who hails from Riverside, Calif., said one of his former swim teams ran one of the merchandise booths at Auto Club Speedway. “So I’ve seen plenty of NASCAR races and just something about it, I always wanted to be in the driver’s seat.’’

Last year, in fact, Clary said he was part of the off-road racing team with La Paz Party Mixes, learning a few things about the sport. And by the time the three-time former NCAA champion at Michigan told his new buddies he really had to get back in the pool so he could fully focus on the Games, he was doing everything except stepping into the car.

“I was working with them as kind of a fabricator, welder, mechanic and pit man, and basically doing everything except for driving,’’ he said. “I’m really looking forward to using all that and trying to take a step forward.”

But expect him to keep going backward going forward. At least in the short term. A gold medal will do that to a guy.

“There obviously is more motivation to continue going now,’’ he told SPEED. “Not that there was a lack of motivation before; it’s just that extra kick in the pants because of what happened [in the final last Thursday]. But I still really want to make that endeavor after swimming’s over, and over the next couple of years, I really want to do everything I can to get as much experience in the seat as possible so that once it comes time for me to make a step away from swimming, people really can see that I’m not just talking about it.

“I just really have a passion for auto racing and I really want to drive.”

Phelps wins 22d medal, 18th gold in final race

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff August 4, 2012 02:33 PM


LONDON -- The final tally after Michael Phelps's final race:

Twenty-two medals. Eighteen golds. And a place in Olympic lore all his own.

In what he insists will be his last competition as an Olympian, Phelps authored a memorable ending, putting the United States ahead on the third leg of the 4x100-meter medley relay en route to the gold medal.

The United States finished in 3 minutes 29.35 seconds, a mere 1/100th of a second from tying its own Olympic record. Japan took silver, while Australia claimed bronze.

Phelps stands atop a figurative podium that no athlete in history has approached. He has more gold medals than any other athlete in Olympic history has total medals, and he has twice as many gold as anyone else.

There was some uncertainty around the outcome of this one, at least until he took the pool.

Matt Grevers gave the United States a small advantage over Japan on the first leg, finishing the backstroke in 52.19 seconds. But the US dipped to second in an event it has traditionally dominated when Brendan Hansen gave up the lead in the breaststroke, with China leading at 1:50.26 after 200 meters.

That only set the stage for one more fantastic Phelps moment, and it was only right that he swam the pivotal leg. No other script would suffice.

So the four-time Olympian, who now has four gold and two silver medals in London after hauling in a record eight in Beijing four years ago, performed like what he is: The best swimmer the world has ever seen.

When his leg was through, the US was in first at 2:40.48.

Nathan Adrian blazed through the final freestyle leg to put the perfect cap on the race, and his teammate's swimming career.

Phelps savored the moment, grinning broadly, hugging his three teammates, and high-fiving Adrian. He has said he prefers the camaraderie of the relays to his individual pool pursuits, and the shared joy was evident in his final, victorious moment as an Olympian.

3:18 p.m. Considering the names and accomplishments of the members of the United States women's 4x100 medley relay team, a world record wasn't out of the question. Maybe it was even expected.

But it sure was impressive to watch them actually pull it off.

Missy Franklin (backstroke), Rebecca Soni (breaststroke), Dana Vollmer (fly) and Allison Schmitt (freestyle) won the gold -- and set that new world standard -- just moments ago, completing the race without suspense in 3 minutes 52.05 seconds. Franklin gave them the lead on the first leg, Soni and Vollmer built on it, and Schmitt touched the wall to set the new world mark.

It's the first time the US women have won the event since the Sydney Games in 2000.

The four US swimmers in the relay have combined for 16 medal in London, with Franklin leading the way with four golds and a bronze.

Up next: Phelps and friends, and his farewell.

2:50 p.m. After a strange false start, China's Sun Yang sets a new world record in the grueling 1,500-meter freestyle, winning in 14 minutes 31.02 seconds. That's three more than three seconds better than the old record, held by ... China's Sun Yang.

Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J.) finished sixth in the men's 1500m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre in London's Olympic Park Saturday evening. Jaeger's 14:52.99 was 21.97 seconds behind the world record time of 14:31.02 by China's Sun Yang.

Canada's Ryan Cochrane earned silver (14:39.63), while Tunisia's Oussama Melluili won the bronze (14:40.31.)

American Connor Jaeger was sixth.

Next up: The women's 4X100.

2:31 p.m.: The first, and briefest, race of the night is complete, and it ended in an Olympic record. Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands set a new standard in the women's 50-meter race, winning in a time of 24.05 seconds.

The silver medal went to Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus won silver in 24.28, while Marleen Veldhuis of the Netherlands took bronze (24.29). American Jessica Hardy was seventh.

* * *

LONDON -- The eighth and final night of swimming is about to get underway at the London Aquatics Center. Four medals are at stake as the United States tries to build on its count of 28 so far in the pool.

The marquee event is the 4x100 relay, better known as the final event of Michael Phelps's Olympic career. (Presuming a stunning change of heart.) Swimming the butterfly leg, he'll be going for his 22d medal overall and his 18th gold. Should the relay team win -- and it is a heavy favorite -- he will have more gold than any other Olympian ever has total medals.

Also on the docket: the women's 50-meter freestyle, the men's 1,500-meter freestyle, and the women's 4x100 relay. Stay tuned for live updates.

Elizabeth Beisel wins bronze in 200 backstroke

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 3, 2012 02:08 PM

Rhode Island's Elizabeth Beisel finished third in the women's 200 backstroke at the London Olympics on Friday.

American teammate Missy Franklin won in a world record time of 2:04.06.

Beisel qualified with a semifinal time of 2:06.18 on Thursday, a personal best that topped the field. Franklin made the cut with a slower time of 2:06.84.

Beisel, of Saunderstown, R.I., won a silver medal in the women's 400 individual medley on Saturday.

Material from an Associated Press report was included.

Video: Finn and Thurston on Raisman, Phelps, and Lochte

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff August 2, 2012 11:23 AM

The Globe's Chad Finn and Scott Thurston discuss swimming and gymnastics events, including athletes Aly Raisman, Michael Phelps, and Ryan Lochte.

Michael Phelps wins 18th and 19th medals, becomes most decorated Olympian ever

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 31, 2012 04:26 PM

LONDON -- Given a nearly four-second lead by his teammates in the 4x200 freestyle relay, Michael Phelps's anchor leg turned into a victory lap.

Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all-time Tuesday night, collecting a gold medal in the relay after taking silver in the 200-meter butterfly earlier to give him 19 during his four Olympics.

He broke the record of 18 set by Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina that has stood since 1964.

Phelps got a huge assist from his teammates in the relay, including friend and rival Ryan Lochte, who gave the US a .98-second advantage after his leg. Conor Dwyer expanded it to 2.13 seconds, and Ricky Berens was strokes ahead of the field in finishing the third leg with a 3.88-second lead.

That left Phelps just 200 meters from history, and he took it from there, bringing home gold in 6 minutes 59.70 seconds.

While there was more celebration than suspense in the relay, the manner in which Phelps tied the record earlier in the night was unusual. At the last possible moment, his precious medal turned into a different precious metal when what looked like certain gold for virtually the entire race turned to silver with a fraction of a second remaining when South Africa's Chad le Clos beat him to the wall by all of 0.05 seconds.

Le Clos won the event in 1 minute 52.96 seconds. Phelps, who led the entire race, came in at 1:53.01.

That plot twist was just the latest unusual one for Phelps so far in London, his fourth Olympics. The most shocking was his fourth-place finish in the 400-meter Individual Medley Saturday. Then, in the 400-meter freestyle relay Sunday, a shot at gold turned to silver when Lochte gave up the lead on the final leg.

But Tuesday, it was Lochte who helped give Phelps a head start on achieving his historic 19th medal.

Phelps's personal medal count now stands at 15 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronze. The 27-year-old has won two silvers and a gold in London after winning a record-eight medals, all gold, in Beijing.

* * *

2:45 p.m.: Allison Schmitt wins the US's first gold of the night, setting an Olympic record in the 200-meter freestyle in 1 minute 53.61 seconds. Teammate Missy Franklin barely misses out on a medal, finishing fourth, 0.01 seconds out of a bronze.

Here comes Phelps.

* * *


LONDON -- The United States gymnastics team owns the spotlight (and the top perch on the podium) thus far Tuesday.

But Michael Phelps has a chance to make it a day he will never forget as well.

With a victory in the 200-meter butterfly final (2:49 EST) at the London Aquatics Center, he will tie Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympic athlete all time, with 18 medals. And should he and his teammates medal in the 4x200 freestyle relay approximately an hour later (3:51 EST), he will stand alone.

I'll have live updates throughout the swimming competition tonight, so stay right here.

Allison Schmitt wins gold in 200m, breaks record

Posted by Robert Burgess July 31, 2012 04:21 PM

LONDON (AP) -- Allison Schmitt of the United States set an Olympic record to win the 200-meter freestyle at the London Games on Tuesday.

Schmitt clocked 1 minute, 53.61 seconds, shaving more than a second off the mark set by Italy’s Federica Pellegrini four years ago in Beijing.

The 400-meter champion Camille Muffat of France touched in 1:55.58 to take the silver and Bronte Barratt of Australia finished in 1:55.81 to get bronze.

American teenager Missy Franklin finished fourth and world-record holder Pellegrini was fifth.

Phelps breaks medal record

Posted by Robert Burgess July 31, 2012 04:16 PM

LONDON (AP) -- First, Michael Phelps had his record-tying 18th Olympic medal, though its hue changed at the last possible second.

Then he and his teammates left no doubt as they claimed gold in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay to make Phelps the most decorated Olympian ever with 19 medals.

Earler, what looked like certain gold for Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly turned to silver on the final stroke when South Africa’s Chad le Clos touched the wall 0.05 seconds sooner.

LeClos won the event in 1 minute 52.96 seconds, while Phelps, who led the entire race, came in at 1:53.01.

Schmitt wins gold, Franklin 4th in women’s 200-meter freestyle

While the plot twist is just the latest unusual one for Phelps so far in London, the most shocking being his fourth-place finish in the 400 Individual Medley Saturday, he is now tied with Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most medals in Olympic history.

Among his collection are 14 gold, 2 silver -- both won during these Games -- and a pair of bronze.

Today at the Olympics: US gymnastics goes for gold, Phelps goes for history

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 31, 2012 04:48 AM

LONDON -- Zipping off for an early Carl Lewis press conference this morning
(pretty sure he's not coming back to challenge Usain Bolt, but you never know), so here's an abbreviated morning update as we enter Day 5 of competition. I'll pop back in later to beef this up in what should be the most memorable day of the summer games yet, with two huge events.

Tuesday's must-see event: Michael Phelps's official coronation as the winningest Olympian of all-time. Should Phelps medal in the 200-meter butterfly and 4x200 freestyle relay tonight -- and he should -- he will be the most decorated Olympian of all-time, with 19 medals, surpassing gymnast Larisa Latynina. These Olympics may have started slowly for Phelps when he failed to make the podium in his first race, the 400 individual medley. Tonight, he can reclaim his place in the spotlight, though he may end up sharing it with ...

Also worth watching: ... the United States women's gymnastics team. The team final would qualify for the Must-See Event designation on most any other day, and there's sure to be plenty of drama Tuesday. Led by captain Aly Raisman of Needham, the five-person squad was first after qualifying and is in an excellent position to win its first team gold since Kerri Strug and the storied Magnificent Seven of 1996. Raisman could play a significant role on how the US fares -- she is in the lineup during the final two disciplines, the balance beam and the floor exercise. Can't wait to see her parents' reaction tonight.

Tweet of the day: "heard @FranklinMissy is a fan of mine. now im a fan of hers too. CONGRATS on winning GOLD! #muchlove --- @justin bieber, after Missy Franklin's victory in the 100-meter backstroke Monday.

The 17-year-old swimmer's response:

@FranklinMissy: ” I just died! Thankyou!

Mind the gap, and we'll have a ton on the blog today, so stay right here for further updates.

Video: Chad Finn on Phelps, Lochte pressure

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff July 30, 2012 07:50 AM

Is there more pressure on Ryan Lochte or Michael Phelps to win gold at the London Olympics? CineSport's Noah Coslov turns to the Globe's Chad Finn to discuss the 2012 London Olympics.

Beisel takes silver in 400 IM

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 28, 2012 03:22 PM

LONDON -- Elizabeth Beisel won a silver medal in the women's 400 individual medley Saturday night at the Aquatic Center at the London Olympics, finishing behind China's Ye Shiwen, who set a world record.

"I'm totally satisfied," said Beisel, who finished fourth in the event four years ago and was aiming to become the first US woman since Janet Evans in 1988 to win the event.

"A gold would be a little bit cooler but I can't complain. I'm just really excited right now."

The Saunderstown, Rhode Island native, the reigning world champion and considered by many the favorite, finished in a time of 4 minutes 31.27 seconds, nearly three seconds behind Ye's record time of 4:28.43.

She topped the standard of 4:29.45 set by Australia's Stephanie Rice four years ago in Beijing.

China's Li Xuanxu won the bronze (4:32.91).

Beisel, who had the fastest time in the morning prelims, started slowly and was in eighth place after the first leg, the butterfly. But she moved up to second during the backstroke, and led by .81 seconds after the breaststroke, the third leg of the race.

But Ye caught and passed her during the final leg, the freestyle. The 16-year-old had a perfectly reasonable explanation afterward.

"In the last 100 meters, I thought I was behind so I tried as hard as I could to catch up," she said.

* * *

Natalie Coughlin won her 12th career medal when the US women won the bronze medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay, but she did not swim in the race.

Coughlin, who tied fellow swimmers Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most medals by a female US Olympian, was left off the final four after swimming during the preliminary heats earlier in the day.

Australia won the gold, while The Netherlands claimed the silver.

Lochte wins gold in 400 IM, Phelps fourth

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 28, 2012 02:14 PM

LONDON -- Ryan Lochte made sure his first showdown with Michael Phelps was no showdown at all.

Perhaps more like a coronation.

Lochte, the mellow Florida Gator by way of New York, breezed to the gold medal in the men's 400-meter individual medley Saturday night at the Aquatics Centre, winning in a time of 4 minutes and 5.18 seconds, more than three seconds ahead of silver medalist Thiago Pereira of Brazil.

Lochte was the favorite, but no one expected it to be anticlimactic.

"I'm happy I was able to do that,'' said Lochte, who took a victory lap (walking, not swimming) around the pool after the race with the other medalists. "I heard the fans screaming all through the race, had my family right there. It definitely helped me a lot."

As for Phelps, the 16-time swimming medalist, it was a shockingly unfamiliar outcome, particularly in an event he dominated for so long: he left the pool with nothing but frustration and a fourth-place finish.

"Just a crappy race,'' said Phelps, who was the first swimmer out of the water after the event while Lochte accepted congratulations from other competitors. "It was frustrating. They swam a better race than me, a smarter race, and were more prepared. That's why they're on the medal stand."

Phelps fell short in his bid to become the first male swimmer to win a specific individual event in three consecutive Olympics, finishing .34 seconds behind bronze medalist Kosuke Hagino of Japan in a time of 4:09.28. Pereira and Hagino both caught Phelps during the freestyle.

It is the first time Phelps has not medaled in an Olympic event he competed in since he finished fifth in the 200 fly as a 15-year-old in the 2000 Summer Games.

Lochte, the world champion in the 400 IM who beat Phelps by approximately half a body length at the Olympic Trials, is the world champion, while Phelps is still the world-record holder, which he set in Beijing four years ago. Lochte was on a pace to break Phelps's world record for much of the race, but his pace slowed during the freestyles.

Lochte said he thought Phelps, who never much enjoyed the 400 IM despite his dominance, gave it all he could.

"That's all you can really ask for,'' he said. I'm going to go talk to him, see how he felt."

Perhaps there was a harbinger in the morning heats when Phelps was the eighth and final swimmer to qualify for the finals. He wound up in a disadvantageous outside lane while Lochte was near the middle in the third lane, where he led at every split and essentially had Phelps defeated after the fly leg of the race given that the backstroke, the third leg of the race, is Phelps's weakest discipline.

* * *

Round One goes to Ryan Lochte.

Lochte cruises to the gold medal with an unofficial time of 4:03.84.

Michael Phelps is fourth -- and misses out on his 17th medal -- at 4:09.28, .34 behind bronze medalist Kosuke Hagino of Japan.

Thiago Pereira of Brazil takes the silver.

Last 100 I sat hose guys out there. They swam a better race than me. They swam a smarter race than me. They were more prepared."

We'll be back with more shortly.

* * *

Lochte still leads after the butterfly.

* * *

Lochte touches the wall in the lead at 1 minute 56:23 seconds after the backstroke.

* * *

According to the media information provided by Atos, the event about to get underway here at the Aquatics Center is called the 400 meter Individual Medley. But let's not be so formal, since the chief and long-anticipated story line is at the center of tonight's event: The first of two showdowns during the London Games between US swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Phelps, who owns 14 golds and two bronzes during his Olympic career, is two medals away from tying for the most in history. He'd love to get one tonight against Lochte, his friendly rival who

The drama nearly ended before it really began. Phelps, who is trying to become the first male swimmer to win a single individual event in three consecutive Olympics, barely qualified for the final during Saturday morning's preliminaries. He won his heat wit ha time of 4 minutes 13.33 seconds, which put him in the eighth spot.

Lochte, who beat Phelps in the 400 at the Olympic trials, qualified third (4:12.35). He could have a relevant advantage over Phelps -- he will swim in the middle of the pool in the third lane, while Phelps has a less-desirable outside spot.

The in-house monitor is showing footage of Phelps and Lochte pacing in a hallway with their game-faces (and in Phelps's case, headphones and robe) on, so we're just a few minutes from getting going here. Stick around for updates.

Today at the Olympics: Phelps-Lochte I

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 28, 2012 06:00 AM

LONDON -- The final notes have long since been sung on Sir Paul McCartney's rendition of "Hey Jude,'' which was aided by the 80,000 or so backup singers filling the stands at Olympic Stadium Friday night. The smoke has cleared from the technicolor fireworks display that put the final exclamation points on a dazzling Opening Ceremony, revealing another blue sky here as a backdrop for the first full day of competition. The Games have officially begun. Here's your rundown for Saturday.

Saturday's must-see event: The headline above has Michael Phelps's name ahead of Ryan Lochte's, but that's no suggestion regarding the order they will finish in tonight's 400 Individual Medley, the first of two highly-anticipated showdowns the American swimmers will have here. In fact, Phelps nearly didn't make it to this showdown at all, becoming the eighth and last swimmer to make the final in Saturday morning's preliminary heats, winning in a time of 4 minutes 13.33 seconds. It was more a formality for Lochte, who beat Phelps in the 400 IM during the Olympic trials -- he checked in with a time of 4:12.35, the third-best during prelims. We'll be watching to see whether Phelps picks up the pace -- and wins his 17th Olympic medal -- in the final, or whether his charismatic countryman Lochte steals the show when they return to the pool for the final at 2:30 p.m. EST.

Also worth watching: Phelps isn't the only decorated US swimmer with something at stake today. Eleven-time medalist Natalie Coughlin will swim a leg of the women's 4x100 freestyle relay, her only event during her third Summer Games. Should she wind up on the podium, she will tie Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most swimming medals by a US woman. The women's 400 IM -- in which Saunderstown, R.I.'s Elizabeth Beisel is favored -- and men's 400 freestyle are also swimming medal events today. Medals are at stake in six other sports today, including road cycling, where local icon Mark Cavendish is the favorite for gold in an event that concludes just a few pushes of the pedal away from Buckingham Palace.

Tweet of the day: You'd think all these great athletes could walk faster. --- @Bruce_Arthur, National Post columnist, on the Parade of Nations that lasted a little less than two hours.

Friday's big story: The Opening Ceremony, which save for some criticism for not acknowledging the Israeli athletes who were killed 40 years ago in Munich (that's on the USOC, not Danny Boyle), have received mostly rave reviews. The Globe's John Powers puts the meaning of the Ceremony into historical context, and asks this about a certain helicopter-jumping, nail-picking, James Bond wing-woman: "Now, what will Her Majesty do for an encore at the Closing Ceremonies?" And Sports Illustrated's Alexander Wolff, who writes that Boyle "outstripped the previous host city by flaunting what the Chinese naturally suppressed,'' had me at the phrase "traumatized pasture animals.'' This morning's Daily Mail basked in the world's praise.

Mind the gap, and stay right here for further updates. I'll be checking in from the men's 400 IM final later.

Michael Phelps is relaxed, ready

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff July 26, 2012 01:12 PM

LONDON -- Sitting alone except for his coach in front of dozens of reporters at the Main Press Centre Thursday, Michael Phelps found the one person among the horde who could almost identify with him.

The particular reporter, rather familiar to viewers of recent Winter Olympics and currently moonlighting for NBC during the Summer Games, was identified by the public relations person selecting questioners at the press conference as "the man in the blue shirt.''

Phelps laughed. "His name's Apolo,'' he deadpanned.

Yes, that one. Apolo Anton Ohno, an eight-time medalist in short-track speed-skating, asked Phelps a question about keeping things simple, one Olympic legend to another. But Ohno's presence also stood as a reminder of just how dominating Phelps has been, not just in his particular sport, but in Olympic lore.

He has 16 medals -- twice as many as Ohno, whose career total Phelps matched in gold during his record-setting performance in Beijing. In London, it's practically a formality that his collection will grow to a record number.

Phelps, 27, has a record 14 golds among his 16 medals, and should surpass the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina sometime in the middle of next week if all goes according to plan. He is competing in seven events this time around, starting with the 400 individual medley Saturday when the swimming competition begins.

"This is the last competitive meet I'm going to have in my career," Phelps said. "It's big. It's something I've never experienced. I'm going to have a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts this week."

Phelps casually but firmly insists that medal counts and records aren't driving him, using the analogy that whatever he wins in London are "the toppings on the sundae."

"You guys are the ones who keep bringing medal counts up,'' he said. "I've never once in my career said anything about medal counts. I'm here to swim as fast as I can, and if I do that, it's all that matters. I've said this before and I'll say it again. The only person I can control is myself.''

Relaxed and at times reflective, he said he's trying to enjoy the camaraderie of what he has repeatedly said will be his final Olympics, though often he finds himself killing time by watching movies and episodes of "The Wire" in the common room.

He's savoring his surroundings and the experience, something that wasn't always possible because of the pressure that accompanied his bid for eight golds in Beijing.

"I think it's sort of hard to compare myself now to then,'' Phelps said. "The goals are different. In Beijing, we were trying to conquer anything and everything. We're a lot more relaxed. We're having fun."

He joked Wednesday about walking out of the cafeteria in the village, only to spot three Russian female athletes walking his way -- all taller than his 6-foot-4-inch frame.

"Geez, I thought I was tall," he said. "But that's the cool thing about coming here and being in the village and getting to experience all of that. I know I have a very full schedule this week, but [coach] Bob [Bowman] and I have prepared ourselves to do the best we can."

Phelps reiterated he had no issue with teammate Tyler Clary telling the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise recently that Phelps doesn't work as hard as less-gifted swimmers and that it's "a shame.''

"Tyler said everything was taken out of context, he has apologized,'' Phelps said. "I said he doesn't need to say anything. He sat in my room for 10 minutes talking about it. He did not need to do that. Whatever you say, you say. I spent a year at school [Michigan] with Tyler. We have known each other for a long time. In Team USA we have always come into the competition as one and left as one."

Phelps joked that perhaps he takes a different approach to training than teammate, friend and rival Ryan Lochte -- "Ryan might be throwing a tire. I don't see myself throwing a tire,'' he said -- but it's apparent the respect Phelps receives from his Team USA teammates, who followed him as a group on the podium.

"When he's with us, he's just ... normal. He's like all of us,'' Lochte said. "We don't see him as anything different. He definitely does get more exposure after what he did in 2004 and 2008. He deserves it.''

Phelps watches USA hoops

Posted by Marc J. Spears, Globe Staff August 18, 2008 12:52 PM

BEIJING -- Approximately 20 members of the USA swim team came out to Wukesong Arena to watch the USA men's basketball team play Germany tonight. Michael Phelps was invited to join the USA basketball team in their locker room following their 106-57 victory and here's some of the Q&A following the event:

What was it like hooking up with the men's basletball team tonight?

"It's cool. When we're swimming and we look up and see these guys, it's awesome to see them in the stands. We were all so excited it was like we can't lose in front of these guys, we're not losing a single race in front of these guys. Just being able to sit in here and hang out with these guys, it's cool to sit in here. These are the guys I'm always watching on tv. It's cool to siti nhere, hang our and be one of the guys."

Whose idea was it to come over and watch the men play tonight?

"I actually wanted to come and see one of the games before I left and this worked out perfectly in our scheduling, so I was able to come down here."

How many of your teammates joined you here tonight?

"About half our team came over tonight. We had a pretty big showing of the crew to cheer these guys on."

Did they put on a good show for you?

"Oh yeah. We destroyed them. It was a fun game to watch."

The Phelps Watch

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff August 17, 2008 12:33 PM

Michael Phelps on the medal stand after winning gold in the 400 IM. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Michael Phelps won all eight potential gold medals he was seeking in Beijing, compiling a career Olympic-record total of 14 golds. Here's the rundown of the medals he won:

Mission accomplished . . .

  1. 400 individual medley. Easily picked up first gold with a world-record performance.
  2. 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Teammate Jason Lezak overcame France's Alain Bernard at the wall for a world-record victory.
  3. 200 freestyle. Ties career gold-medal record of nine, winning by more than a body length.
  4. 200 butterfly. He touched in 1 minute, 52.03 seconds, breaking his old mark of 1:52.09 set at last year's world championships in Australia. Gives him 10 golds for his career, putting him alone atop the career list.
  5. 4 x 200 freestyle relay. Beijing gold medal No. 5 (and career No. 11) came in easy fashion. With Phelps leading off, the American relay team of Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay won in a world record time of 6:58.56, more than four seconds better than the previous mark.
  6. 200 individual medley. Phelps dominated right from the start of the 200-meter individual medley and won in 1 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.
  7. 100 butterfly. Phelps beat Milorad Cavic of Serbia in the 100-meter butterfly by a hundredth of a second, setting an Olympic record in 50.58 seconds but snapping his streak of setting world records in each of his previous six gold-medal performances. With the win, Phelps matched Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals in one games.
  8. 4 x 100-meter medley relay. Phelps and his teammates shattered the world record in the 4 x 100-meter medley relay, enabling Phelps to expunge countryman Mark Spitz's 1972 record for most golds at one Games.

Statements on Phelps

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 17, 2008 12:13 AM

BEIJING, China - Statement from U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth:

"An extraordinary chapter in Olympic history has been written here in Beijing by one of the greatest athletes of all time. We could not be more proud of Michael, in the manner by which he competed, represented our country, and represented the Olympic Movement. The fact that his eighth medal was won in a team relay signifies Michael's commitment not only to his own quest, but to the importance of teamwork and representing his country."

Statement from U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr:

"It is fitting that at one of the most significant events of our generation, we have witnessed one of the greatest performances in Olympic history. Michael's record-breaking performance during these Games will inspire millions of people around the world to reach for their goals and aspire to greatness. He is an example of the very best values of the Olympic Movement and our country."

Phelps breaks record

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 17, 2008 12:04 AM

Dara Torres (Parkland, Calif.) earned her 12th Olympic medal as part of the 4x100m medley relay team that won the silver Sunday morning at the National Aquatics Center.

Swimming the anchor leg of the relay shortly after taking the silver in the 50m freestyle, Torres ties fellow swimmer Jenny Thompson for the most Olympic medals won by an American woman. The other members of the relay team were Natalie Coughlin (Lafayette, Calif.), Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) and Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.).

The gold medal went to Australia, which touched in a world record time of 3:52.69 to the 3:53.30 by the U.S. (which set an American record). China won the bronze with a 3:56.11.

Torres gets 12th medal

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 17, 2008 12:01 AM

Dara Torres (Parkland, Calif.) earned her 12th Olympic medal as part of the 4x100m medley relay team that won the silver Sunday morning at the National Aquatics Center.

Swimming the anchor leg of the relay shortly after taking the silver in the 50m freestyle, Torres ties fellow swimmer Jenny Thompson for the most Olympic medals won by an American woman. The other members of the relay team were Natalie Coughlin (Lafayette, Calif.), Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) and Christine Magnuson (Tinley Park, Ill.).

The gold medal went to Australia, which touched in a world record time of 3:52.69 to the 3:53.30 by the U.S. (which set an American record). China won the bronze with a 3:56.11.

Torres gets silver

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 16, 2008 10:23 PM

Dara Torres (Parkland, Calif.) won the silver medal in the women's 50m freestyle event Sunday morning at the National Aquatics Center. Germany's Britta Steffen took the gold by the slimmest of margins with an Olympic record time of 24.06 seconds, just 0.01 ahead of Torres. Cate Campbell of Australia won the bronze medal with a time of 24.17 seconds. American Kara Lynn Joyce (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was sixth in a time of 24.63 seconds.

Coughlin gets bronze

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 14, 2008 11:17 PM

Natalie Coughlin (Lafayette, Calif.) won the bronze medal in the women's 100m freestyle at the National Aquatics Center Friday morning.

Phelps has sixth sense

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 14, 2008 11:05 PM

Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) claimed his sixth gold medal of the 2008 Olympic Games by winning the men's 200m individual medley in a world record time of 1:54.23, breaking his own mark set in Omaha, Neb., on July 4 by 0.57 seconds.

The silver medal went to Laszlo Cseh of Hungary with a time of 1:56.52, 2.29 seconds off Phelps' pace and a mere 0.01 ahead of Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), who won the bronze medal. It was Lochte's second medal of the morning after winning the 200m backstroke gold a half-hour prior.

More gold for U.S.

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 14, 2008 10:28 PM

Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) and Aaron Peirsol (Irvine, Calif.) gave the U.S. gold and silver in the men's 200m backstroke Friday morning at the National Aquatics Center. Lochte covered the distance in 1:53.94, breaking the world record he shared with Peirsol by 0.38 seconds. Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin, who led at each of the three turns, held on to win the bronze with a 1:54.93.

Soni takes gold

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 14, 2008 10:09 PM

Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) claimed the gold medal in the women's 200m breaststroke with a world record time of 2:20.22 Friday morning at the National Aquatics Center. Her effort took 0.32 seconds off the old standard, set by Australia's Leisel Jones on Feb. 1, 2006.

The silver medal went to Jones in a time of 2:22.05, 1.83 behind Soni, while Sara Nordenstam of Norway won the bronze with a 2:23.02.

US women upset

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 14, 2008 12:47 AM

The U.S. team of Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.), Natalie Coughlin (Lafayette, Calif.), Caroline Burckle (Louisville, Ky.) and Katie Hoff (Towson, Md.) captured bronze in the women’s 4x200m freestyle swimming event with a time of 7:46.33.

Australia’s finish of 7:44.31 was a world record and China placed second in 7:45.93.

The United States had previously held every gold medal in this event since it was first contested in 1996.

Another gold for Phelps

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 12, 2008 11:19 PM

The U.S. 800 relay team routed the competition and earned a gold medal. It is Phelps's fifth gold of the Games, and gives him an Olympic record 11 for his career.

Phelps wins again

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 12, 2008 10:22 PM

Michael Phelps just claimed his fourth gold medal, winning the 200 butterfly in world record time.

Vendt in line for gold

Posted by John Powers, Globe Staff August 12, 2008 11:44 AM

North Easton native Erik Vendt all but guaranteed himself his first swimming gold medal on Tuesday when the US men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay easily qualified with by far the fastest time for the Wednesday finals, where they're expected to win by as much as six seconds with Michael Phelps anchoring. Though Vendt, an alternate who swam third leg in the prelims, won't be one of the four men in the final, he'll still receive a medal. It'll be the third of his career, along with silvers from the 400 individual medley from 2000 and 2004.

Silver for Soni

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 11, 2008 11:01 PM

BEIJING -- Rebecca Soni (Plainsboro, N.J.) won the silver medal in the women's 100m breaststroke at the National Aquatics Center Tuesday morning. The gold went to Leisel Jones of Australia, while Mirna Jukic of Austria won the bronze.

Jones touched in an Olympic record time of 1:05.17, 1.56 ahead of Soni. The American had the second-fastest return lap to surge from fifth place at the turn to post a time of 1:06.73, 0.61 ahead of Jukic. Megan Hendrick (Tacoma, Wash.) finished fifth with a 1:07.62.

More U.S. gold

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 11, 2008 10:41 PM

BEIJING -- Aaron Piersol (Irvine, Calif.) led an American gold-silver finish in the men's 100m backstroke event at the National Aquatics Center Tuesday morning. Piersol posted a time of 52.54 seconds, breaking his own world record of 52.89, set July 1 at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb. He finished 0.57 ahead of teammate Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.), who took the silver in 53.11 seconds. The bronze medal went to Russia's Arkady Vyatchanin, who touched in 53.18 seconds.

Phelps rolls

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 11, 2008 10:18 PM

BEIJING -- Michael Phelps just won his third gold medal in world record time in the men's 200 freestyle. It was a dominating performance from start to finish. It's now three down and five to go for the Baltimore native

Phelps gets another gold

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 10, 2008 11:34 PM

BEIJING -- The USA men's 4 x 100 relay team just set a world record in the finals of the event and beat France by .08 seconds.

Michael Phelps started of the race and was second following his turn. Garrett Weber-Gale made up the time in second portion.

Then Cullen Jones kept the team in the hunt finishing second on his leg and Jason Lezak's 46.06 split and his out stretched arms gave his team the victory.

You could tell the Americans had won as my collegues at the NY Times in the office next door screamed in excitement of the close finish.

Phelps wins first gold

Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff August 9, 2008 10:28 PM

BEIJING -- Swimmer Michael Phelps began his quest for eight gold medals this Olympiad with a bang, breaking the record in the 400 individual medley in 4 minutes 3.84 seconds to capture his first gold.

What to watch: Track & Swimming

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff August 6, 2008 06:00 AM

Dara Torres of the U.S. attends practice at the National Aquatics Centre. (Reuters)

Before departing for Beijing, the Globe's John Powers previewed the US Track & Field and Swimming teams, both of which are expected to bring home plenty of gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing.

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