Michael Phelps Claims Immortality at the Beijing Olympic Games

Dusan VuksanovicCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2008

Forget Matt Biondi's 1988 swimming quest for Mark Spitz's seven golds. Forget Michael Phelps' participation in Athens 2004. Forget the 4x100m freestyle relay in Beijing.

Forget all of that. The one thing to remember from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is the 100 meters butterfly.

Michael Phelps equalled Spitz's record of seven gold medals, by winning the fly race in an Olympic record time of 50.58.

Unbelievable moment, unbelievable race, unbelievable Olympics!

The much-favored American literally stole the gold from Serbia's Milorad Cavic, in the last three inches of the finals.

Cavic, the European record holder, and the quickest 100 fly athlete at the Games prior to the finals, could not quite force the upset of the millenium.

But it all looked absolutely breathtaking.

It was Australian Ian Crocker, the former world record holder, and Cavic had the best start.

With each stroke, Cavic was going further away from everybody in the race. He was speeding. He was gliding through the water as if it was air.

At the 50-meter mark, he was under the world record. He was ahead of Phelps, whose quest looked like it was coming to an end.

But then, like so many times before, just as in the 4x100 meters freestyle relay, Phelps  began to really kick.

With 25 meters to go, Cavic only had half a body length's advantage. But he seemed comfortable.

He seemed to be heading for the top spot on the podium. He seemed to be the winner.

And then, the most amazing thing had happened.

Phelps really started eating up the water. Closer! And closer! And closer!

Still, with five meters to go, everybody thought it was over—surely the Serbian would kill the dream.

Cavic made one final stroke—he was so close to the end! But he couldn't make another one.

Phelps on the other hand, had paced himself way better than the Serbian—he still had a little bit left.

Two meters before the finish, and Phelps made one last, final snap. One that would bring him glory. One that would make him, indisputably, the best Olympian to have ever performed.

One that would secure him immortality.

The Serbian kicked with his feet, and streched his 6'6" long body. But Phelps responded in kind, and was more prepared for the touch.

In the end, the American was faster by .01 of a second. A great time of 50.58 stood on the scoreboard!

A new Olympic record. A new era of Olympic domination.