Phelps wins 1st gold in world-record time
Canada's Brian Johns finishes 7th in men's 400m IM final
One down, seven to go for Michael Phelps.
The American swimming star won the first of what he hopes will be a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, taking the 400-metre individual medley final in a world-record four minutes, 3.84 seconds on Sunday.
Cheered on by President George W. Bush, Phelps began pulling away at the halfway point and lopped a whopping 1.41 seconds off his own world mark of 4:05.25, set at the U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb.
Laszlo Cseh of Hungary captured silver on Sunday at Beijing's National Aquatics Centre in a time of 4:06.16. American Ryan Lochte, a good friend of Phelps's, got the bronze in 4:08.09.
"I'm pretty happy. That was a pretty emotional race," Phelps said. "I knew it was going to be a tough race all the way through."
Brian Johns of Richmond, B.C., came in seventh in a time of 4:13.38.
"I was able to stay in the race for as long as I thought I could," Johns, who clocked a Canadian-record 4:11.41 in Saturday's qualifying, told CBC Sports. "Unfortunately, I didn't have as much in the back end as I would have liked, but I'm pretty happy with the race."
Phelps, who also won the 400 IM at the 2004 Athens Games, is attempting to break the mark of seven gold medals in swimming set by fellow American Mark Spitz at the 1972 Games in Munich.
Phelps, who won six golds among his eight medals in Athens, is also closing in on the all-time record for most Olympic golds. Spitz, American track and field athlete Carl Lewis, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi and Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina each won nine in their careers.
Still to come for Phelps are the 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and 200m individual medley, plus three relays.
Phelps holds the world record in each of the solo events but one, the 100m butterfly. That mark belongs to teammate Ian Crocker, whom Phelps defeated at the U.S. Olympic trials.
Women's 400m IM
Stephanie Rice of Australia won gold in the women's 400m IM, reclaiming the world record in the process.
Rice, who owned the 400 IM mark earlier this year before American Katie Hoff took it, clocked 4:29.45 on Sunday.
"I sort of turned around and thought I saw 4:31 and I was thinking, 'That hurt a lot for a 4:31,"' Rice said. "But when I walked over and saw the 4:29, I thought, 'That's amazing."'
Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry also broke Hoff's old mark with a time of 4:29.89, but had to settle for silver. Hoff got the bronze in 4:31.71.
American Elizabeth Beisel, the 15-year-old whose 4:34.55 was the fastest qualifying time on Saturday, finished fourth in the final in 4:34.24.
Men's 400m freestyle
South Korea's Park Tae-hwan won the men's 400m freestyle final on Sunday, taking gold in a time of 3:41.86. China's Zhang Lin took silver in 3:42.44, while American Larsen Jensen claimed bronze in 3:42.78.
Favoured Aussie Grant Hackett, who was in the lead, finished sixth.
Women's 100m butterfly
Australia's Libby Trickett qualified fastest for the women's 100m butterfly final, posting a time of 57.05 in her semifinal heat.
Christine Magnuson finished second to Trickett in the first heat and second overall with a U.S.-record time of 57.08. Australia's Jessicah Schipper won the second heat in 57.43, good for third overall.
Singapore's Tao Li was fourth overall in an Asia-record 57.54.
China's Zhou Yafei, Britain's Jemma Lowe, Inge Dekker of the Netherlands, and Brazil's Gabriella Silva round out the field of eight for Monday's final.
Men's 100m breaststroke
Alexander Dale Oen of Norway clocked an Olympic-record 59.16 for the fastest time in the men's 100m breaststroke semifinals.
Japan's Kosuke Kitajima won the other heat in 59.55 to finish second overall. Brenton Rickard of Australia was right behind Kitajima in an Oceania-record 59.65, good for the third fastest time.
France's Hugues Duboscq, American Brendan Hansen, Russia's Roman Sludov, American Mark Gangloff, and Igor Borysik of Ukraine grabbed the remaining spots for Monday's final.
With files from the Associated Press