Source: Xinhua

08-13-2008 11:26

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- American swimmer Michael Phelps won the gold of men's 200-meter butterfly with a new world record here on Wednesday, becoming the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

Michael Phelps of the United States smiles after winning the men's 200m butterfly final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 13, 2008. Phelps set a new world record and won the gold medal in the event with 1 minute 52.03 seconds. (Xinhua/Ding Xu)
Michael Phelps of the United States smiles after winning the men's 
200m butterfly final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National 
Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 
13, 2008. Phelps set a new world record and won the gold medal in the 
event with 1 minute 52.03 seconds. (Xinhua/Ding Xu)

The 23-year-old clocked 1:52.03 to better his own world record of 1:52.09 set in May 2007. Hungary's Laszlo Cesh took silver in 1:52.70, and the bronze went to Japanese Takeshi Matsuda in 1:52.97.

Phelps, who has won three golds in Beijing, came to the pool as the unequalled star in the event. He is the defending Olympic champion in the event and has broken the 200m fly record six times since 2001.

Phelps stretched his legs upon the deck and adjusted his swimsuits and caps before jumping into the water to create history.

He was the second to touch wall at 50 meters, but overtook the rest of the swimmers in the second lap and was never headed. American basketball players, including Kobe Bryant, were among the spectators to witness the feat.

The fresh gold, the tenth for Phelps, has brought the American to excel the nine-Olympic-golds club of U.S. swimming great Mark Spitz, American track and field star Carl Lewis, former Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina and Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi.

"To be tied for the most Olympic gold for a long time with those names in Olympic history, it is a pretty amazing accomplishment. It is definitely a honor," he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

China's Wu Peng shared the fourth position in 1:54.35 seconds with Japanese Takeshi Matsuda.