Olympics: 17th gold medal comes for Michael Phelps

Three more gold medals in the pool for the dominant United States.
Michael Phelps won the 100m butterfly.
Michael Phelps won the 100m butterfly.

Michael Phelps, showing no signs of complacency after breaking every imaginable record in Olympic swimming, won the men's 100 metres butterfly gold medal at the London Games yesterday.

On the eve of his retirement from competitive swimming, Phelps provided another reminder to the world of his incredible talent and determination when he came from seventh at the turn to overpower his rivals and win in a time of 51.21 seconds.

South Africa's Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200m butterfly final earlier in the week, dead-heated for second with Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin but neither man could hold Phelps off once he started to roll his giant shoulders and kick his powerful feet in the second half of the race.

By winning, he joined his American team mate Missy Franklin as the only triple gold medallists in London after she broke the world record in the 200 backstroke final a few minutes earlier and took his career tally to 21 medals, including 17 golds.

He still has one more event to go before he hangs up his goggles, the 4x100 medley relay tonight, an event the US men have never lost at an Olympics they have attended and are strongly fancied to win again.

Earlier, Franklin confirmed her arrival as the new queen of the pool with her record breaking display.

The 17 year old from Colorado led the four-lap race from start to finish to win in a time of 2 mins 04.06 secs, slashing three-quarters of a second off Kirsty Coventry's world record, which was set in a now banned polyurethane bodysuit.

Russia's Anastasia Zueva won the silver medal and America's Elizabeth Beisel the bronze but neither could keep up with Franklin, who opened up a body's length over the field after just 75 metres.

Franklin, who won the 200 backstroke world title last year, became the first woman in 12 years to complete the backstroke double at the Olympics and also the first American swimmer since Melissa Belote in 1972.

Franklin also won gold medals in the 100 backstroke and 4x200m freestyle relay and a bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay in London and is not finished yet.

She still has the medley relay to come on Saturday where the United States, like their male counterparts, are overwhelming favourites to win gold.

A superb night in the pool for the Americans was completed by teenager Katie Ledecky pulling off a stunning upset to win the women's 800 metres freestyle final.

The 15-year-old Ledecky, the youngest member of the American team, gave her rivals no chance as she led all the way to snatch the gold medal in a time of 8 mins 14.63 secs.

Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia took silver, but was more than four seconds behind Ledecky, who took five seconds off her personal best.

The United States were denied a perfect night in the pool as Frenchman Florent Manaudou edged out American Cullen Jones to win the men's 50m freestyle. The 21-year-old charged down the pool to get his hand on the wall first and win the frantic one-lap dash in a time of 21.34 seconds.

The winner is the younger brother of Laure Manaudou, who won the women's 400m freestyle gold at the Athens Games in 2004, becoming the first female French swimmer to win an Olympic title.

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Published: August 4, 2012 04:00 AM


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