August 15, 2008
Michael Phelps earned his seventh gold medal this morning in Beijing with a stunning, come-from-behind victory won by the slimmest of margins. Phelps was behind Serbian Milorad Cavic for the entire race, but capped a breathtaking comeback by taking an extra stroke in the final stretch to out-touch Milorad by .01 seconds, the closest winning-margin in Olympic history.
For everyone who thought Jason Lezak's comeback in the 4x100 freestyle relay was as good as it swimming races get, Phelps showed otherwise with his furious finish. Cavic appeared to have Phelps beat, but the 13-time gold medalist took what looked to be an ill-advised extra stroke before the wall that ended up enabling him to nip Cavic -- who glided into the finish -- in the final meter. Even watching the replay, it's mind-boggling that Phelps was able to get to the wall first. Comebacks in the 100 fly are nothing new for Phelps, but this time the win looked out of his reach. Once again, it was a completely stunning win for Phelps.
Phelps now has seven gold medals and will almost assuredly best Mark Spitz's mark tomorrow in the 4x100 medley relay. It will cap the greatest Olympics in history for any athlete.
Update: (10:39 p.m. ET) Serbia is protesting the result of the race, claiming Milorad touched first.
Update x2: (10:51 p.m. ET) FINA has rejected the protest, claiming the video replay confirmed Phelps' victory.
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