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Michael Phelps' Olympic Records to Be Broken

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Michael Phelps' Olympic Records to Be Broken

Michael Phelps

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty

Update: Michael Phelps does it! Every record he could break at the 2008 Olympic Games he did.

Yes, we’ve all heard about how this year in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Baltimore swimmer Michael Phelps could break the 1972 record set by Mark Spitz of seven gold medals in one Olympic Games. But let's take a look at what else is within the Olympian's grasp.

See Michael Phelps Photos

In Athens in the 2004 Olympics, Phelps’ six gold medals fell just one short of tying that record, although his eight medals in all tied for the most in a single Olympic Games. However, 2008 could be different. He will again compete in eight events, giving him the opportunity to set a new Olympic record.

But there are more records than that for Phelps (the most famous by far of Maryland's Olympic athletes) to break this year.

All signs point toward a historic performance in 2008. He's won more gold medals in the World Championship events, held since the 2004 Olympics. And in the U.S. Olympic swimming team trials in July 2008, he set two world records for the 400-meter individual medley (4:05.25) and in the 200-meter individual medley (1:54.80).

Phelps Olympic Schedule and Results

  • Most Gold Medals in a Single Olympic Games: Fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz with seven golds from the Munich Games in 1972 holds the record. Phelps would need to win golds in all eight of his events to break it. Phelps Breaks It: 8 golds
  • Most Individual Olympic Gold Medals in a Career: American high jumper Ray Ewry holds this title with eight golds through his career that spanned 1900 to 1908. Phelps has four individual golds from 2004; he must win all five of his individual races in 2008 to break it. Phelps Breaks It: 9 individual gold medals
  • Most Individual Olympic Gold Medals in a Single Games: If Phelps wins gold medals in all five of his individual events he will also break both the career and single games record. Currently American Eric Heiden (Speed Skating, 1980) and Vitaly Scherbo, who represented the Unified Team (gymnastics, 1992), hold the record with four golds. Phelps Breaks It: 5 individual gold medals in 2008 Games
  • Most Olympic Gold Medals in a Career: Four athletes, each with nine gold medals, tie for this honor right now: Finland's Paavo Nurmi (track and field; 1920-28), American Mark Spitz (swimming, 1968-72), American Carl Lewis (track and field, 1984-96) and Larisa Latynina of the former Soviet Union (gymnastics, 1956-64). Coming into the Bejing Games with six gold already Phelps only needs four to break this record. Phelps Breaks It: Sets a new mark in 2008 with 14 gold medals.
  • Most Olympic Medals in a Career for an American: Swimmer Jenny Thompson, who competed from in Olympic Games 1992 to 2004 currently holds this title with 12 medals. Phelps only needs five medals of any kind to break her record. Phelps Breaks It: 16 Olympic medals in all (14 gold and 2 bronze)

Records Phelps Can’t Break…Yet

  • Most Olympic Medals in a Career: Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina, with 18 Olympic medals (nine of which are gold) spread across three Games from 1956 to 1964, holds this title. The best Phelps can do in 2008 is 16 medals, which would put him in second place. But if he goes to the 2012 Games in London he could break it.
  • Most Medals in a Single Olympic Games: Phelps already ties with Soviet gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin (1980) for this one with eight medals. Since he is only in eight events the best he can do is tie.
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