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Two more golds for Phelps
Updated: 2004-08-18 09:07

Michael Phelps took his haul of gold medals at the Athens Olympics to three on Tuesday after winning the 200 meters butterfly and helping the United States beat Australia in the 4x200 freestyle relay.

Ryan Lochte (left) and Michael Phelps (right) react after the U.S. won the 4X200m freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympic Games Tuesday, August 17, 2004 in Athens, Greece. Australian Ian Thorpe (center) and his teammates finished second. [AP Photo]

The American also has two bronze medals and with three events still to go, he now seems certain to become first swimmer to win eight medals at a single Olympics.

But for once, Phelps did at least have to share the spotlight with someone else after Ukrainian Yana Klochkova became the first woman to win the same two events at consecutive Olympics.

Klochkova won her fourth Olympic title when she took out the women's 200 medley three days after winning the 400.

The 22-year-old also won the double in Sydney four years ago, emulating Hungarian Tamas Daryni who won the same two events in 1988 and Russian Alexander Popov who won the freestyle sprint double in Barcelona and Atlanta.

"When you do it once that is very important ... but when you win twice and make history that stays in the record books forever," Klochkova said.

Camelia Potec provided Romania with their first swimming gold in Athens when she won the women's 200 freestyle but the main focus was again on Phelps.

The American posted the second fastest time in history to win the 200 butterfly in one minute 54.04 seconds, just 0.11 outside the world record he set at last year's world championships.

He was under world record pace at the halfway stage but began to slow down on the turn for home before holding off the late charge of Japan's Takashi Yamamoto and Stephen Parry, who provided Britain with their first Olympic swimming medal since the Atlanta Games in 1996.

Phelps returned to the pool an hour later to join Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller for a dramatic relay battle with Australia.

Phelps swam the lead-off leg and the U.S. had a big lead heading into the final changeover but Ian Thorpe, winner of the 200 individual gold the previous night, began to close on Keller.

With everyone in the stadium on their feet roaring, Thorpe looked as though he would pass Keller in the final few meters but the American held on to reach the wall just 0.13 seconds ahead with Italy third.

"It was probably the most exciting race I've ever been part of," Phelps said. "I knew Klete would come through. He anchored the relay perfectly. He held off the greatest 200 freestyler in history."

Thorpe, who was aiming for his third gold of the Games, said: "We've owned this event since 1998 so this is a disappointing result.

Klochkova led all the way to win the 200 medley in 2:11.14. American Amanda Beard pushed her hard in the final length to take silver in 2:11.70, while Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe won the bronze to add to the silver she won in the 100 backstroke on Monday.

Flashing Home

Potec added the Olympic gold to the European title she won in Madrid in May, flashing home from the outside lane to win in 1:58.03, having entered the final as second-slowest qualifier.

Italian teenager Federica Pellegrini was second and Solenne Figues of France third.

The relay win gave the U.S. their fifth gold in the pool in Athens after four days, one more than Australia, but not everything went smoothly for the sport's traditional powerhouse.

America's two 100 freestylers, Jason Lezak and Ian Crocker were both eliminated in the heats, leaving the U.S. without an Olympic finalist in the event for the first time, barring the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games and an open-water duel between an Austrian and a Hungarian in 1896.

South African Roland Schoeman upstaged defending champion Pieter van den Hoogenband to qualify fastest for Wednesday's final.

Schoeman, who won gold in the 4x100 freestyle relay on Sunday, won his semi-final on Tuesday in a slick 48.39 seconds after turning half a second under world record pace.

Van den Hoogenband was second in 48.55 with Italian Filippo Magnini third in 48.91. Thorpe, bidding for a unique freestyle treble, snuck into the final in eighth place with a time of 49.21.

But Russia's Alexander Popov, who won the 50-100 sprint double in 1992 and 1996 and is the reigning world champion, missed out after clocking 49.23.





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