Michael Phelps wins third gold medal, sets record in 200-meter freestyle

BEIJING - There are 523 swimmers from 97 countries competing in these Olympic Games. There is one swimmer who, day after day, swim after swim, seems intent on turning this meet into his personal five-ring showcase. It may not be fair to call the Olympic swim meet the Michael Phelps Invitational, but the temptation is there, and it may only get stronger. For the third time in three days, the 23-year-old Phelps, out of Ann Arbor, Mich. by way of Baltimore, walked off the Water Cube pool deck with a gold medal around his neck. This latest bauble came with a victory Tuesday morning in the 200-meter freestyle, in a world-record time of 1:42.96. Phelps, the world record-holder in the event - he went 1:43.86 in the world championships in March, 2007 - only had the third fastest qualifying time, which put him in Lane 6. U.S. teammate Peter Vanderkaay and Taehwan Park of Korea both went faster, but swimming fastest when it matters most is just one of the multitude of challenges Phelps has conquered. Park took the silver Tuesday, Vanderkaay the bronze. PHOTO GALLERY: SEE PICS FROM LATEST OLYMPIC ACTIONPhelps' victory didn't merely keep him on track for his desired total of eight gold medals. It avenged his one enduring disappointment from Athens, where he won bronze in the 200 free, and for good measure, tied him at the head of the all-time Olympic gold-medal list, with nine. He joins legendary Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina and Mark Spitz. It also pushed his overall Olympic medal total to 11, tying him with Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi at the head of the U.S. list for male swimmers. Phelps will swim a total of 17 times at this meet, and his tirelessness never ceases to astound. Monday night, hours after he swam an American-record leg in the U.S.'s mind-blowing, world-record 4X100 relay triumph, Phelps was back in the Water Cube drink, cranking out an Olympic record clocking of 1:53.70 in the prelims of the 200-meter Continue Reading

Michael Phelps wins eighth gold medal in 400-meter medley relay

BEIJING - He can put away his goggles now, pack up his swimsuits, stick all of his one-race-at-a-time platitudes in storage until London four years from now. Michael Phelps plunged into the Water Cube pool for the 17th time in the nine-day Olympic meet Sunday morning, and had the predictable result. Eight is considered the luckiest number in Chinese culture, because it sounds similar to the word for "wealth" or "prosper." Both terms fit very nicely in the personal profile of the 23-year-old Phelps, the kid from Baltimore who has become an icon in a Speedo. Phelps closed his Games with his eighth gold in as many events, as the U.S. captured the 4x100 medley relay, breaking the world record the Americans set in Athens four years ago, doing it without the fractional, final-stroke finish Phelps need to win No. 7 in the 100 meter fly a day before. PHOTO GALLERY: PHELPS MAKES OLYMPIC HISTORYIf you are tracking it at home, the Phelps scoreboard shows five individuals golds, three relay golds - and seven world records. The haul eclipses Mark Spitz's seven golds from Munich in 1972, and hikes Phelps' career gold total to 14, completing an agenda so ambitious that few thought it possible. "Everything was accomplished. What else can I do?" Phelps said, smiling. Grant Hackett, the Australian freestyle star who took silver in the men's 1,500 meter earlier in the session (he was denied a third straight gold by Tunisia's Ous Mellouli), was asked about where Phelps stood in the swimming pantheon. "Michael Phelps can't be described," Hackett said. "In my opinion we will never see it again." The American relay team - Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Phelps and Jason Lezak - completed the four-stroke, eight-lap race in three minutes, 29.34 seconds, to Australia's 3:30.04. It was the 24th world mark set in the fastest swim meet in history. Though the U.S. has never lost the medley relay, winning every non-boycott gold since the event was put on the Olympic menu in 1960, Continue Reading

With latest piece of gold, Michael Phelps much more than meets eye

BEIJING - If the Olympic pool had been Yankee Stadium, Michael Phelps would have been out at the plate on Saturday morning and nobody would have argued the call. Not even Phelps. The naked, ignorant retina figured he had lost this 100-meter butterfly in the tightest of finishes; that Milorad Cavic had glided in first, while Phelps chopped from above to take second. The American god in the sleek, black unitard was a loser, after requiring that extra half stroke to touch the wall. Phelps was still jabbing away. Cavic appeared to be there already, through the clear blue water. Except when Phelps is involved, you can't even believe your own eyes. These are the Phelps Olympics, and even our limited perception of reality can't stop him anymore. Somehow, some way, he touched the finish pad in 50.58 seconds, while Cavic was groping underwater until 50.59. "I personally looked at the video footage," said Ben Ekumbo, the race referee, who rejected a Serbian protest. "It was very clear the Serbian swimmer touched second. It was an issue of stroking. One was stroking. The other was gliding." There are two scoring systems, one based on cable technology and a backup on battery. Both showed the same result. So Phelps had his seventh gold medal here, tying Mark Spitz. He has his $1million bonus from Speedo. That's what the scoreboard indicated, anyway, and you can't argue with the official electronic timekeeper - which happens to be Omega, which happens to be a sponsor of Phelps, but let's not get all conspiratorial. Even Phelps had a hard time believing what he saw on the scoreboard. "I had to take my goggles off, to make sure the '1' was next to me," Phelps said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words." This was one victory Phelps did not nonchalant. He had some bulletin-board material from Cavic, who'd said it would be good for swimming if Phelps finally was beaten. Phelps still fell far behind in the first 50 meters, hoping just to stay a half body-length Continue Reading

5 ways Michael Phelps (and you) can manage a windfall

Olympic superstar Michael Phelps is about to cash in -big time. Thanks to his record-breaking eight gold medal wins in Beijing last week, Phelps automatically earned $1 million through his contract with Speedo (before the Olympics, he was reportedly earning $3 million to $5 million a year from corporate endorsements). But that's minor league compared with the estimated $40 million to $100 million he's expected to earn over his lifetime. Regular people know better than to hold their breath for such a king-size windfall; it's more likely they'll come into a large chunk of money via an inheritance (although other possibilities include a business sale, an insurance settlement, or a lotto jackpot). According to Boston College's Center for Wealth and Philanthropy, an estimated $41 trillion is expected to transfer among generations by 2052. The bulk of that money will be passed to the children and grandchildren of the baby boomers. So what should you do if you suddenly luck into or inherit a large chunk of money? We asked three wealth managers for their best advice: Sit on it. "I give this advice to everyone, including people who are recently widowed. Don't do anything for 18 months," says Mickey Cargile, managing partner of WNB Private Client Services in Midland, Tex. "Let the impact of the windfall soak in and take some time to decide what you want to do with this money and what role it will play in your life." He suggests stashing the money in a safe, interest-bearing investment, such as a treasury bond or a tax-free municipal bond (particularly if you're in a high tax bracket). Unfortunately, not every windfall is big enough to last a lifetime. Determine if your cash influx is a potential life changer or a life enhancer. If you're earning $50,000 a year, for example, $100,000 could provide a nice financial cushion if you use it to pay down debt, buy a home, or invest. Determine your tax situation. Technically, this should be something you do in conjunction Continue Reading

Miss USA runner-up Carrie Prejean and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps a couple?

Are Michael Phelps and Miss California Carrie Prejean a tabloid match made in heaven? Olympic swimmer and record-breaking gold medal winner Phelps shocked fans and made headlines around the globe when he was photographed smoking marijuana at a college party earlier this year. The Miss USA runner-up kicked up a controversy this week for speaking out against gay marriage in response to a question from pageant judge and celebrity blogger Perez Hilton. Now - they may make headlines together as a ruckus-raising couple. Prejean's grandmother Jeanette Coppolla has said the two are dating, according to a report on RadarOnline.com. "Carrie and Michael have been out to baseball games and lunch. He always calls her when he is in town and they go out," she said. Prejean offered a vague response to questions on the matter from pageant host Billy Bush on Sunday. "That’s not appropriate to answer right now. He’s a great man…You can call me on a later day and we can talk about that," she said at the time. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Michael Phelps wins 100-meter butterfly at trials, Gary Hall doesn’t qualify

OMAHA, Neb. - Michael Phelps will get another shot at Mark Spitz's Olympic record in Beijing. Gary Hall Jr. won't be going to China at all. Phelps locked up his eight-race schedule by winning the 100-meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials Saturday night, powering away on the return lap to easily beat world record holder Ian Crocker. The winning time was 50.89 seconds, about a half-second slower than Crocker's 3-year-old mark of 50.40. "This week turned out how I wanted it to," Phelps said. "I'm ready for the challenge that lies ahead of me. At the Olympics, it's going to be harder than it was here. It's a higher level and you add the relays in there and it's the Olympic Games. Hopefully, it's something I can be successful at." Although Phelps had to be content with setting two world records in Omaha, Margaret Hoelzer put her name in the book with a stunning win in the 200 backstroke. The 25-year-old got a great surge off the wall heading into her third lap, then closed strong to finish in 2:06.09, beating the record of 2:06.39 set by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry in February. It was the ninth world record of the meet. Fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Beisel, a rising star in American swimming, rallied to take the second Olympic spot in 2:06.92. Hard-luck Hayley McGregory finished third again, matching her finish in the 100 back and denying her a berth on the Beijing team. Hall, too, was denied and won't get a chance to go for his third straight Olympic gold in the 50 freestyle. The 33-year-old iconoclast came on deck wearing a red, white and blue cape and used his hands as six-shooters, hoping to take down his younger rivals in his only race of the trials. But Garrett Weber-Gale touched first with an American record of 21.47, while defending world champion Ben Wildman-Tobriner took the second Olympic spot in 21.65. Cullen Jones, who set the previous U.S. mark of 21.59 in the semifinals, touched third in 21.81, while Hall was fourth in Continue Reading

Michael Phelps sets 400 IM mark

OMAHA, Neb. - Holding off one of his best friends, Michael Phelps started his second attempt to break Mark Spitz's Olympic record with another epic swim.Less than an hour later, the teenager he compares to a little sister joined Phelps in the record book. Phelps set a world record in his first event of the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, touching just ahead of Ryan Lochte to win the 400-meter individual medley in 4 minutes, 5.25 seconds Sunday night. Katie Hoff matched her former North Baltimore teammate in the 400 IM, taking down the women's mark in 4:31.12. Wearing the high-tech Speedo LZR Racer, Phelps beat his own mark of 4:06.22, set at last year's world championships in Australia when he turned in one of the greatest performances in swimming history with seven gold medals. After saying he had no fear of Phelps, Lochte proved it by also going under the previous record. But his time of 4:06.08 was only good enough for second with Phelps in the next lane over. "That was probably one of the most painful races of my life," the winner said. "Everything was left in the pool. I definitely would not have been able to do it without Lochte beside me. He's a great friend and a great competitor. I love racing him." The 19-year-old Hoff - playfully described by Phelps as the little sister he never had - showed no signs of the nervousness that ruined her first trip to the Olympics four years ago. The youngest member of the U.S. team, she was overcome by the moment and threw up on deck after failing to advance from her first event. All grown up, Hoff dipped under record pace on the breaststroke leg and held on with her freestyle to beat Stephanie Rice's mark of 4:31.46, set in March at the Australian Olympic trials. "Stephanie really raised the bar when she broke my old record," Hoff said. "I'm just excited for Beijing, and I think it's going to be a really tough challenging race with her." Like Phelps, Hoff also was wearing the revolutionary Speedo suit, which has been worn Continue Reading

Natalie Coughlin, Aaron Peirsol show Michael Phelps how it’s done

OMAHA - With six world records broken only three days into the meet, it's almost becoming newsworthy when athletes fail to break new ground here at the Olympic swimming trials.Natalie Coughlin and Aaron Peirsol, two experienced Americans who are expected to shine at the Beijing Games this August, turned in unprecedented times in the 100-meter backstroke on Tuesday night.As they each broke their own world records, the incomparable Michael Phelps fell just short of doing the same - although he did win his race and lock up yet another berth in China.Coughlin and Peirsol raced about 10 minutes apart. Outside the massive convention center, where a temporary pool was specially constructed just last month, scalpers were selling tickets so that fans could witness Phelps and one of the strongest American fields ever seen.Phelps won the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday - one of four races on Tuesday that were used as qualifiers for Olympic start rights - falling just 0.24 seconds short of the record he set in that event at last year's world championships.His time of 1 minute, 44.10 seconds on Tuesday was, however, a full half second faster than the time it took Ian Thorpe to win in that event at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.Phelps is aiming to qualify for Beijing in enough events that he can break Mark Spitz's 36-year-old record of seven golds in a single Olympiad.Just after completing her race in 58.97 seconds - the first woman ever to break the 59-second mark - Coughlin said that the estimated 12,559 fans in attendance spurred her to the record."It's the first time underwater I could hear the crowd," said Coughlin, who may race in as many as six events this summer.Peirsol, meanwhile, said that he didn't think the actual Olympic race could possibly be harder than the trial on Tuesday. While the new world record he set in 52.89 seconds was certainly impressive, even the sixth-place finisher in the race was faster than Peirsol was when he won gold at Athens."Obviously you have to Continue Reading

Familiar face pops up in the new ‘Rogue One’ trailer, aired on Michael Phelps’ latest big Olympic night

Michael Phelps broke an Olympic record Thursday night that was — get this — more than 2,000 years old.But for “Star Wars” fans that was nothing. The big news was the introduction of a new trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” It arrived as scheduled, on the night that Phelps staked an even greater claim on immortality, ensuring a huge audience.And it delivered, for those of us who are not slavishly devoted to every bit of rumor regarding “Star Wars,” a pretty good jolt. (See below.)We see the new characters, of course, Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso chief among them.But we also see a familiar face, and even for the casual fan, it’s pretty cool. All I’ll say is this: Watch till the end. And keep pining for Dec. 16, when "Rogue One" debuts. Reach Goodykoontz at [email protected] Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: twitter.com/goodyk. Continue Reading

Michael Phelps confirms he’s aiming for fifth Olympics

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Michael Phelps is aiming to compete in a fifth Olympics next year in Rio, although the 18-time Olympic champion won’t swim in the world championships this summer. Phelps confirmed his intention to make one last run at the Olympics on Wednesday. The 29-year-old swimmer is in Arizona to compete in his first meet since serving a six-month suspension by USA Swimming after a second drunken driving arrest last fall. RELATED: MICHAEL PHELPS ANNOUNCES ENGAGEMENT TO FORMER MISS CALIFORNIA But Phelps says he won’t be swimming at the world meet in Russia in August as part of the punishment set forth by the sport’s U.S. governing body. That is the last major international meet before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Phelps is back in Arizona, where he attended an in-patient alcohol rehabilitation program after being arrested on DUI charges in his hometown of Baltimore last September. Continue Reading