Michael Phelps triumphant
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2008 Beijing Games Swimming

Michael Phelps begins to celebrate the U.S. victory in the 400-meter medley relay Sunday in Beijing, where he won his unprecedented eighth gold medal of the Summer Games. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps turns to celebrate with Aaron Peirsol as teammate Brendan Hansen lets out a roar as the Americans won the 400-meter medley relay to give Phelps a record eight gold medals for the Beijing Games(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Photographers swarm American swimmer Michael Phelps as he climbs into the Water Cube stands to celebrate with his mother, Debbie, after winning his eighth gold medal of the Beijing Games(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps and his teammates who won the men’s 400-meter medley relay pose for pictures after the medal ceremony Sunday at the Water Cube in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
The Water Cube video shows swimmer Michael Phelps as the U.S. national anthem plays during the medal ceremony for the 400-meter medley relay. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Members of the U.S. 400-meter medley relay team -- (from left) Michael Phelps, Brendan Hansen, Jason Lezak and Aaron Peirsol -- listen to the national athem after being awarded their gold medals Sunday at Beijing’s Water Cube. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps congratulates teammate Jason Lezak, who swam the anchor leg on the U.S.'s winning 400-meter medley relay team Sunday in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Dara Torres shows her disappointment after just missing the gold medal in the women’s 50-meter freestyle on Sunday at the Water Cube in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. swimmer Dara Torres gives a shrug to acknowledge she did the best she could in capturing the silver medal Sunday in the women’s 50-meter freestyle. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Dara Torres is greeted by teammates after winning her second silver medal of Sunday when the U.S. women finished second in the 400-meter medley relay. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Dara Torres, left, who won the silver medal in the women’s 50-meter freestyle Sunday, is joined by gold medalist Steffen Britta of Germany and bronze medalist Cate Campbell of Australia as they pose for pictures following the podium ceremony Sunday at the Water Cube. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American Michael Phelps and Serbian Milorad Cavic approach the finish side by side in the men’s 100-meter butterfly at Beijing’s Water Cube. Phelps edged Cavic by .01 second to win his seventh gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps reacts after winning the men’s 100-meter butterfly Saturday by a split second over Serbian Milorad Cavic at the Water Cube in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Michael Phelps steps to the medal podium after winning the men’s 100-meter butterfly at the Water Cube in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Micheal Phelps tosses a bouquet of roses to his mother, Debbie, after the medal ceremony for the 100-meter butterfly at the Water Cube on Saturday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps and the rest of the swimmers begin the men’s 100-meter butterfly on Saturday in Beijing. Phelps would win the race for his seventh gold medal of the Beijing Games(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe shows great relief after winning the women’s 200-meter backstroke Saturday at the Water Cube. U.S. swimmer Elizabeth Beisel, right, finished fifth. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Margaret Hoelzer swam her way to a silver medal in the women’s 200-meter backstroke on Saturday in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Dara Torres leaves the pool in Beijing after winning her 50-meter semifinal on Saturday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Cesar Cielo Filho of Brazil cries tears of joy moments after he wins the men’s 50-meter freestyle at Beijing’s Water Cube. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps celebrates after setting another world record, this time in the 200-meter individual medley that brought him his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Games(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Michael Phelps opens a lead on teammate Ryan Lochte during the 200-meter individual medley on Friday in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and teammate Ryan Lochte embrace after finishing first and third, respectively, in the men’s 200-meter individual medley on Friday in Beijing. Phelps won in a world record time of in 1 minute 54.23 seconds. Lochte was thrd in 1:56.53. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmers Aaron Peirsol, right, and Ryan Lochte churn their way to the finish in the final lap of the 200-meter backstroke Friday in Beijing. Lochte would edge Peirsol for the gold medal. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Americans Aaron Peirsol and Ryan Lochte check out the scoreboard and times after finishing one-two in the men’s 200-meter backstroke. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Ryan Lochte can see he has just set a world record while winning the 200-meter backstroke Friday in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Ryan Lochte is congratulated by family and friends Friday in Beijing after winning the gold medal for the 200-meter backstroke after setting a world record in 1:53.94. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Rebecca Soni is well ahead of the field as she finishes a world-record swim in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke Friday in Beijing. Her time of 2:20.22 was nearly two seconds ahead of the runner-up. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Rebecca Soni frolics in the water after taking the gold medal and winning a world record in the 200-meter breaststroke Friday in Beijing. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Not every American swimmer won gold on Friday in Beijing, as Natalie Coughlin takes a moment to gather herself after finishing third in the 100-meter freestyle. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Jason Lezak stands up and checks out the scoreboard to discover he tied for the bronze medal in the men’s 100-meter freestyle on Thursday in Beijing with Brazil’s Cielo Filho, right, who is being congratulated by Australia’s Matt Targett. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Michael Phelps emerges from the final turn in the men’s 200-meter individual medley semifinal, which he won Thursday in a time of 1:57.70. Phelps will go for his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Games on Friday in the event. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. swimmer Aaron Peirsol approves of his winning time Thursday in the men’s 200-meter backstroke semifinal. Peirsol will go for his second gold medal of the games on Friday, having already won the 100-meter backstroke in world-record time. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps dives into the water to begin the men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay for the U.S., which won the event and gave Phelps his fifth gold medal of the Beijing Games. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
U.S. relay swimmer Peter Vanderkaay leaps into the pool after teammate Ricky Berens touches the wall with no other team in sight during the men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Michael Phelps cheers on teammate Ryan Lochte as Peter Vanderkaay waits to swim the anchor leg during the men’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte greet friends and family poolside after they received their 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay gold medals. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Garrett Weber-Gale, left, and Michael Phelps of the U.S. react as 400-meter relay teammate Jason Lezak of Irvine ran down then world-record holder Alain Bernard of France in the final few meters and out-touched him at the wall for the gold medal.  (Waly Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Jason Lezak (in pool), Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale react after seeing the scoreboard flash the U.S. as winners in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay Monday in Beijing. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale gives teammate Jason Lezak a hug as Cullen Jones steadies himself and Michael Phelps gives a yell of approval after Lezak came from behind to anchor the U.S. to victory in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay on Monday in Beijing.  (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
French teammates console Alain Bernard after narrowly losing to the U.S. in the men’s 400-meter on Monday. (Julian Abram Wainwright / EPA)
U.S. teammates (from left) Michael Phelps, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak accept their gold medals after winning the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay on Monday in Beijing.  (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
American swimmer Katie Hoff took the silver medal in the women’s 400-meter freestyle Monday in Beijing.  (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Kosuke Kitajima of Japan celebrates after winning the 100-meter breaststroke final Monday in Beijing, earning his second consecutive gold medal in the event. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps celebrates his new world record and first gold medal Sunday in the 400-meter individual medley. He cut 1.41 seconds off the world record he had set June 29 at the Olympic trials. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Phelps swims the breaststroke section of the men’s 400-meter individual medley. Teammate Ryan Lochte came in third. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Phelps powers through the backstroke section of the men’s 400-meter individual medley at Beijing’s National Aquatics Center. He finished with a world record time of 4:03:84. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
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