In 2008, at the Beijing Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps broke an Olympic record and became the most decorated gold medalist in history. Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, resulting in an astonishing 19 gold medals throughout his Olympic career. Phelps is now a swimming legend with a record extremely difficult to beat. http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/columns/story?id=3539386 (Courtney Petersen)
Mark Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics, an achievement only surpassed by Michael Phelps who won eight golds at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Spitz set new world records in all seven events in which he competed, a record that still stands. Since the year 1900, no other swimmer has ever gained so great a percentage of all the medals awarded for Olympic events held in a single Games.
At the 1904 Summer Olympics, American gymnast George Eyser won six medals: 3 gold; two silver, and one bronze. What makes Eyser even more unique is that he competed with a wooden leg. During his youth, Eyser lost most of his left leg after a train ran over it. This didn’t stop him from making history a few years later, becoming the only person to compete in the Olympic Games with an artificial leg, until 2008 when South African swimmer, Natalie du Toit, competed in the Beijing Olympics.
Phelps had a spectacular performance in 2008 at the Olympic Games in Beijing when he picked up a record eight gold medals, breaking the 1972 record of American swimmer Mark Spitz. Phelps also has won more individual Olympic gold medals than any other athlete — a number he is expected to add to at the 2012 games in London. God bless, & best wishes in all events to 2012 olympic athletes.