17 Aug 2008

Phelps wins record breaking eighth gold

7:44 pm on 17 August 2008

The American swimmer Michael Phelps has won a record-breaking eighth gold in a single Games, to end a stunning week of achievement in the Olympic pool.

Phelps' eighth gold came in the men's 4x100 metre medley relay surpassing the seven gold won by fellow American Mark Spitz in the pool at Munich in 1972.

Phelps said it was just the start of his bid to transform the sport.

He said "everything was accomplished, doing all best times, winning every race, everything that we wanted to do here has been accomplished."

Phelps's success at these Games has sparked the imagination of the American public with his races being shown on giant screens at baseball games and receiving huge media attention.

Phelps says his aim now is to build on that increased profile and broaden swimming's appeal.

He said "I don't want this sport to be an every four year sport .... I want to get people involved in the sport and to be aware of what we're doing".

Phelps said he is also considering putting himself to the test in some new events and although he didn't specify which, the suggestion is likely to alarm the 100 freestylers who have so far avoided direct competition from the American.