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Aged just 23-years-old, Michael swam to victory on Sunday, beating Mark Spitz's record set in 1972 of seven gold medals in one Games. He could still be competing in London 2012
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The American Olympic champion is watched by his proud and emotional family, mum Debbie and his two sisters, Whitney and Hilary, as he receives his record-breaking eighth gold medal
Photo: Getty Images

Eighth gold makes Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian ever

17 AUGUST 2008
All eyes were on American super-swimmer Michael Phelps on Sunday as he made Olympic history in Beijing.

Setting a seventh world record in the 4x100 metres medley, the 23-year-old claimed an incredible eighth gold medal. In doing so, the swimmer broke Mark Spitz's 36-year-old tally of seven wins in one games.

"There are so many emotions going through my head and so much excitement," said the delighted athlete. "I kind of want to see my mum," he added.

The Baltimore-born star swam the third leg of the relay, helping put the team into the lead. And despite close competition from Australia and Japan, the swimmers touched the finishing line first in a record three minutes and 29.34 seconds.

Modest Michael was quick to pay tribute to his fellow relay athletes: Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Jason Lezak. "Without the help of my team-mates, this isn't possible," he said.

Along with his wins in the 2004 Athens Games, Michael is also the athlete with the most gold medals in his trophy cabinet - an amazing 14 in total.