Phelps wins fifth gold; drops out of relay
Michael Phelps of United States continued his torrid pace in the pool Friday, swimming to his fifth gold and seventh medal of the Athens Summer Games.
Phelps captured the men's 100-metre butterfly on Friday, narrowly beating teammate and rival Ian Crocker in a time of 51.25 seconds, just ahead of Crocker in 51.29.
The win tied Mark Spitz's record of four individual swimming gold in one Games. He also has a team gold and two bronze in Athens.
"The things I'm doing right now, I've dreamed about my whole life," Phelps told CBC's Elliotte Friedman. "Standing up on the medal podium with the gold medal around your neck, hearing the national anthem play — It's awesome, it's definitely an amazing accomplishment."
After the race it was learned that Phelps had decided with his coach Bob Bowman to drop out of Saturday's 4x100 medley relay final. Instead, the 19-year-old gave up his relay spot to Crocker.
"We came into this meet as a team and we're going to leave it as a team," Phelps said. "It's the right thing to do."
Although Phelps pulled out, he swam in the heats of the relay, making him eligible for a medal and still able to tie Russian gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin's record of eight medals at a single Games set in Moscow in 1980.
The 100 butterfly was expected to be a duel between Phelps and Crocker. Crocker upset Phelps at the world championships and again at the U.S. trials, where he set a world record.
Andriy Serdinov of the Ukraine collected the bronze.
In other events, Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe collected the gold medal in the women's 200 backstroke in a time of 2:09.19.
Stanislava Komarova of Russia touched in for the silver medal, while Japan's Reiko Nakamura and Germany's Antje Buschschulte tied for the bronze.
Ai Shibata of Japan captured the women's 800 freestyle in a come-from-behind swim over France's Laure Manaudou.
Manaudou was seen as the favourite in the race after she won the 400 freestyle on Sunday. The young Frenchwoman also won bronze in the 100 backstroke during the Games.
Shibata chased down Manaudou and finally caught her in the last 50 metres. The Japanese swimmer touched the wall in a winning time of 8:24.54, ahead of Manaudou in 8:24.96.
Diana Munz won the battle of the American distance swimmers, edging out teammate Kayln Keller for the bronze.
Gary Hall of the U.S won the 50 freestyle, affectionately known as the "splash and dash" for how much water is churned by the sprinting swimmers, in a time of 21.93.
Duje Draganja of Croatia finished second, one hundredth of a second behind Hall. Roland Schoeman of South African collected the bronze medal in a time of 22.02.
with files from Associated Press