Michael Phelps makes history with 8th gold at a single Olympic Games

Michael Phelps completed his quest for eight gold medals at a single Olympic Games in yet another world record time as the United States trumped the rest of the field to win the 4x100 metres medley relay.

The 23-year-old American eclipsed Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Games - set in Munich in 1972 - as the relay allowed Phelps to round-out an astonishing achievement many believed impossible.

Jason Lezak held off a late challenge from Australia's Eamon Sullivan as the Americans won in a time of 3 minutes 29.34 seconds, 1.34 seconds under the world record to hand Phelps - who swam the butterfly leg - his record breaking gold.

Phelps' swim to history result
400 IM 4:03.84 World
4x100 free relay 3:08.24 World
200 free 1:42.96 World
200 fly 1:52.03 World
4x200 free relay 6:58.56 World
200 IM 1:54.23 World
100 fly 50.58Olympic
4x100 medley relay 3:29.34World

Phelps went into the water trailing after 100 and 200m breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima had given Japan the lead at the halfway mark, but a commanding performance by the Baltimore swimmer put the United States back in front.

That left Lezak to deliver Phelps his eighth win and, just as he did in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay, the 100m freestyle bronze medallist came through for his team mate when it mattered.

He said: 'I don't know what to feel, so many emotions, so much excitement. I just want to see my mum.

'Its been nothing but an upwards rollercoaster but its been nothing but fun.'

Spitz's record had stood unchallenged for 36 years but the wait to find someone to go better than Phelps could take another century.

He said: 'The biggest thing is nothing is impossible.

'With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination.

'That's something I learned, something that helped me.'

It was the seventh world record Phelps has been involved in at the Water Cube but more significantly it provided him with an eighth gold medal.

He had earlier won the 400 individual medley, 4x100 freestyle relay, 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 4x200 freestyle relay, 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.

Gold medals Athlete;sport Country Years
14Michael Phelps; SwimmingUSA 2004 (6); 2008 (8)
9Carl Lewis; Track and field USA 19844);1988(2);1992(2);1996(1)
9Mark Spitz;SwimmingUSA1968 (2); 1972 (7)
9Larysa Latynina;Gymnastics Soviet Union1956(4);1960(3);1964(2)
9Paavo Nurmi;Track and fieldFinland1920(3);1924(4);1928(2)

Coupled with his six golds from Athens in 2004, Phelps is a runaway leader on the all-time list of gold medallists, having taken his tally to 14.

Spitz, American athlete Carl Lewis, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina, all finished their careers with nine golds.

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