Sunday, August 05, 2012

Phelps bows out with 18th gold

All eyes were on Michael Phelps as he brought to an end a career few can ever hope to match as he claimed his 18th Olympic gold medal as the USA won the 4 x 100m Medley Relay.

Michael Phelps of the U.S. throws his winner's flower bouquet to his mother Debbie (not pictured), after receiving his gold medal for winning the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012. 

Flashing a lop-sided smile of satisfaction and relief, Michael Phelps left the Olympic arena for the final time on Saturday after finishing his competitive career with a scarcely credible 18 gold medals.

The boy from Baltimore, who had set out to redefine the boundaries of his sport, had succeeded beyond anybody's expectations with twice as many Olympic titles as any other athlete in the modern Games.

At the age of 27 he will move on, secure in the knowledge that he could not have done any more in the sport that became his life.

"I told myself that I never wanted to swim when I was 30," he said. "I've been able to do everything I wanted, I've been able to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve and I've managed to do every single thing. It's time for other things."

Phelps, the most accomplished all-round male swimmer ever, set his sights high from the start.

"Nothing is impossible," he wrote in his autobiography 'No Limits' published after his record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. When I'm focused, there is not one single thing, person, anything that can stand in the way of my doing something."

The magnitude of his achievement as he quit the pool and entered the history books can be measured by the list of the other Olympic multiple medallists.


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