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From the Water Cube: Phelps Delivers Gold

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From the Water Cube: 2 GOLDS - 2 World Records - Phelps Delivers - Now #1 Olympian

At first it seemed Michael Phelps would not take the gold in the 200m butterfly this morning.

Here in the Water Cube all eyes were on the main pool as Phelps and the others began the race.

China and others showed early strength. The crowd was excited to see a number of strong contenders.

At the final turn of the 150m it became clear that Phelps could take it.

The entire stadium stood as the swimmers neared the final touch.

Phelps not only won the gold but beat the world record. He later explained that he could have had a faster time if his goggles were not leaking. He was shooting for 1:51 or under but came in at 1:52.

Then - just 25 minutes later - Phelps joined his team to tackle the 200m freestyle relay. Phelps was first up in the relay. He quickly took the lead and broke away from the field to put more than a body length between him and his nearest rival.

By the time the fourth US swimmer turned for the final lap, the US team was ahead by an astonishing FIVE body lengths.

Phelps has now won more gold medals than any other Olympian.

There were surprisingly few Americans in the Water Cube today. As Phelps won his golds cheers went out from small pockets of Yankees with flags here and there. Certainly not the experience I had in Salt Lake City when the entire stadium would shake with the crowd's roar.

Where are the Americans? The Chinese certainly did not make it easy to get tickets to this venue. Significant parts of the stands are dedicated to media and to local groups. In Salt Lake, many tickets were often available at the last minute if sponsors returned them. Here there are plenty of empty seats but not one ticket booth at ANY venue.

Hopefully more will make it in for the upcoming gold opportunities for Phelps and the USA team.

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