Phelps tracks Spitz after sixth gold in record style

British swimming and Michael Phelps had good days at the office here yesterday. Both went to bed dreaming of turning six gold medals into seven. And there the similarities end.

Before day dawned on the Chinese capital this Saturday morning, six was the number of swimming golds won by Britain at the Olympics since the Second World War, with Rebecca Adlington's 800 metres freestyle final to come.

And six was the number won by Phelps. At this Games. Since last Sunday. His 100m butterfly final today, for a magnificent seventh gold, was scheduled, like Adlington's race, for this morning here, the early hours of Saturday in the UK.

The American reached his weekend butterfly race – and a $1m (£537,000) deal for him because of potential bonus payments from Speedo – just a few minutes after he had stepped down from the top of yet another podium.

His sixth gold of these Games, and the 12th of his career, came in the 200m individual medley. The time he clocked to win it was his sixth world record in six finals. He led from the klaxon to the touch, clocking 1min 54.23sec, more than half a second faster than his own previous mark, set at the US Olympic trials earlier this year.

Britain also enjoyed a record-breaking time. In the evening session, the women's 4x100m relay team broke the European record by 0.19sec to qualify second fastest for tomorrow's final. The men's relay team also qualified, in fifth place, for their final tomorrow, the last swimming race at the Water Cube. David Davies qualified, in fifth place, for tomorrow's 1500m freestyle final, in which he won bronze in Athens.

Yet those positive developments are as nothing against one man's assault on history: Phelps's ongoing, mind-boggling, breathtaking achievements in this little stretch of water.

The peerless American already had nicknames before Beijing: the "Baltimore Bullet" and "Superfish" were two of them. Now he is also The Gooat (Greatest Olympian of all time), although there are those who dispute it. Arguments against his case can only be dented with more metal before the end of the Games. By then he wants to be The Gooatee – ever� providing the supplementary letters.

Yesterday morning's win moved him to within a solitary victory of equalling Mark Spitz's seven golds at one Games. Phelps's rivals can only get churned about like so much laundry in his wake. The 6ft 4in calorie furnace was a whopping 2.29sec ahead of Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who took the medley silver in a European record-breaking time. And Cseh was just 0.01sec ahead of Phelps's compatriot Ryan Lochte, who took bronze. Cseh and Lochte are no mugs. Lochte had earlier won the 200m backstroke in a world record time. Cseh is the best that the European continent can muster in several disciplines. If Phelps had not been here, Cseh would almost certainly have won three gold medals this week. But Phelps – or Moo (Man of the Olympics) – has now beaten him into silver place in two individual medleys and the 200m fly.

Phelps was happy to deal with inevitable questions that his feats are too good to be true. He knows his freakishly proportioned body and an unmatched thirst for the success that his hard work brings are what propel him. "I know that I am clean," he said, in response to a question about drugs. "I did 'Project Believe' with USADA [US Anti-Doping Agency] where I purposely wanted to do more tests to prove that. People can question all they want but the facts are facts and I have the results to prove it."�

Project Believe is a voluntary programme where the participants provide additional blood and urine samples beyond regular testing. Phelps is also featured in the "My Victory"� campaign, encouraging young athletes to take a pledge against doping. He admitted his natural talent was not enough to succeed. "I have to work on speed and endurance and all four strokes. I need the speed to get the starts and the endurance to carry it through. You can't do it on talent alone. A lot of hard work, a lot of dedication."

Britain's Davies will have his work cut out to match his Athens bronze after his 1500m heat became the fastest ever. "Unbelievable,"� he said. "It's going to be tough in the final." The world record holder, Australia's Grant Hackett, lowered the Olympic record to 14:38.92 to qualify fastest, with Ryan Cochrane, of the US, second and Russia's Yuriy Prilukzov third in a European record.

Earlier, Britain's Fran Halsall finished eighth in the 100m freestyle final, as did Gregor Tait in the 200m backstroke. James Goddard and Liam Tancock were among those trailing far behind Phelps in his final. Like most people these days.

What I had for breakfast today

The revelation that the swimmer Michael Phelps eats a monstrously large breakfast, rich in foods we thought were bad for us, has prompted an 'Independent' survey into what the athletes are starting their days with in Beijing:

*Michael Phelps, US swimmer

Three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise
Three chocolate-chip pancakes
Five-egg omelette
Three sugar-coated slices of French toast
Bowl of grits
Two cups of coffee

*Karina Bryant, British judoka

Breakfast before her bout yesterday consisted of:
Cereal with milk
Scrambled eggs
One banana

*David Price, British boxer

The 25-year-old super heavyweight from Liverpool is Britain's heaviest fighter and is now the best hope for gold. He is not a big fry-up man (unlike Audley Harrison, who had the full Monty before he won his Olympic gold in Sydney).

He says: "I don't overeat even when I'm not in training, because I want to stay lean and mean, not like some of the heavyweights around." On Monday when he next fights, he says he may have:
A small fillet steak topped by a poached egg
Cornflakes with skimmed milk
Lots of fruit
Fruit juice (but no tea or coffee)
Toast and jam

*Paula Radcliffe, British marathon runner

Pre-breakfast: One lemon (which she sucks to reduce the build-up of lactic acid)
Wheatgrass juice
One small energy bar

She then goes on the first of her two daily training runs. After this comes her breakfast proper:


*Khalid Yafai, British boxer

The 19-year-old flyweight from Birmingham, who makes his Olympic debut today, is the lightest boxer in the British team:

One piece of fresh fruit
One slice of wholewheat toast
One boiled egg
Mineral water

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home