Phelps Wins 9th Gold Medal

By: Lee Gordon Email
By: Lee Gordon Email

Michael Phelps put on another dominating performance at the Beijing Olympics, winning the 200-meter freestyle Tuesday with a third straight world record.

The American's ninth career gold medal tied him with Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina for the most in Olympic history.

Racing out of lane six, Phelps quickly surged to the lead and led by a full body length halfway through the second of four laps. Phelps was nearly two seconds ahead of the field when he touched in 1 minute, 42.96 seconds, breaking the mark 1:43.86 he set at last year's world championships.

Phelps is now 3-for-3 in Beijing, keeping him on course to beat Spitz's 36-year-old record of seven golds in a single Olympics.

Phelps will go for his fourth medal and 10th overall on Wednesday in the 200 butterfly, yet another event in which he holds the world record.

Aaron Peirsol won the men's 100 backstroke, defending his title with a world-record time and extending the United States' dominance of the event.

Peirsol finished in 52.54, lowering his old mark of 52.89 set at last month's U.S. trials.

Teammate Matt Grevers earned the silver in 53.11. Arkady Vyatchanin of Russia and Hayden Stoeckel of Australia tied for the bronze in 53.18.

The Americans have won the men's 100 back at four consecutive Olympics, with Peirsol taking the title at the 2004 Athens Games in a time that was 0.17 seconds slower.

Natalie Coughlin won the 100 backstroke, becoming the first woman to ever defend her title in the event.

Coughlin finished in 58.96 seconds, briefly going under world-record pace at the 50.

World record holder Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe earned the silver in 59.19. Margaret Hoelzer of the United States took the bronze in 59.34. Six of the eight finalists swam under 1 minute.

Coughlin earned her second medal of the Beijing Games, having won a silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Coventry was the silver medalist in the 400 individual medley.

In the semifinals of the women's 200 free, Katie Hoff advanced with the second-fastest time of 1:57.01. The 19-year-old American, who's like a little sister to Phelps, is still trying to win her first gold medal after settling for bronze and silver in her first two events. She still has three more individual races, plus a relay, to make up for that void.

Sara Isakovic of Slovenia was the top qualifier at 1:56.50.


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