"I just don't think they can do it, Dan," said Rowdy Gaines.
No one expected Jason Lezak to be the savior. The aging veteran turned in the most thrilling relay leg in Olympic history in the 4x100 freestyle in Beijing, coming from behind for a fastest-ever 46 seconds to beat the French. It saved Phelps' run at eight golds and touched off a wild celebration on the pool deck.
Like stories of superhuman strength when trying to lift a car off of someone, or like Kirk Gibson simply willing himself to hit his home run in '88, Lezak found an extra gear and etched his name in history.
"I never lost hope," said Lezak (via ESPN). "I don't know how I was able to take it back that fast, because I've never been able to come anywhere near that for the last 50."