Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 15, 2008
Date Finished: August 17, 2008
With seven Olympic titles already in his locker, Michael Phelps would have been forgiven if he had suggested that the hardest part of his attempted eight gold medal sweep was already over. After all the US had, barring the 1980 boycott, never failed to win the medley relay since its' introduction in 1960.
Backstroke champion Aaron Peirsol led the Americans out to a lead on the opening leg of the final but Japan and Australia came back at them in the breaststroke leg. It was time for Phelps to earn his glory and put America back in front and that is exactly what happened. As the final freestyle leg got underway the US held a healthy but not conclusive lead over Japan with Australia back in third. Though individual 100 m freestyle champion Eamon Sullivan attempted to pull back the Americans it was not enough to make a difference as the USA broke yet another world record. Phelps' eighth gold medal of the 2008 Games was an absolute Olympic record breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven in 1972.