BEIJING - A daily double. Michael Phelps swam into history as the winningest Olympic athlete ever with his 10th and 11th career gold medals - and five world records in five events at the Beijing Games.
A day after etching his name alongside Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis with gold No. 9, Phelps set a standard all his own when he won the 200-meter butterfly last night.
An hour later, he swam the leadoff of a runaway victory by the U.S. 800 freestyle relay team, which shattered the old world mark by more than four seconds.
In his individual event, Phelps had a problem with his goggles. But that didn't keep him from touching first.
No such worries in the relay. Seemingly impervious to fatigue, the gangly American set a blistering pace of 1:43.31 that got the Americans rolling toward a winning time of 6:58.56 - the first team ever to break the seven-minute barrier.
"Come on! Come on!" he screamed at teammates Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay.
The previous record of 7:03.24 was set by the Americans at last year's world championships. Russia took the silver, more than five seconds behind the Americans, who mainly had to make sure they didn't jump in the water too soon. Australia won the bronze.
"Safe start! Safe start!" Phelps yelled at Berens before he dived in.
After a six-gold performance at the 2004 Athens Games, Phelps needed only five days in Beijing to surpass Spitz, Lewis, Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina and Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi as the winningest Olympian ever.
Phelps is all alone at the top of the career golds list, with three more chances to stretch his lead before he leaves China.
In his signature stroke, Phelps was second at the first flip, then pushed it into another gear, his long arms gobbling up huge chunks of water as he literally sailed along atop the surface. He finished in 1:52.03, breaking his mark of 1:52.09 from the 2007 worlds.
Phelps barely smiled as he looked at the board, breathing heavily and hanging on the lane rope. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh really pushed it at the end, but settled for silver in 1:52.70. Japan's Takeshi Matsuda took the bronze in 1:52.97.
Phelps rubbed his eyes and said climbing from the pool, "I can't see anything." A pair of leaky goggles kept him from even seeing the wall as he touched.
"My goggles kept filling up with water during the race," Phelps said. "I wanted a world record, I wanted 1:51 or better."
Still, he had two more golds and two more records, leaving him just three wins away from beating Spitz's record of seven gold medals in a single games.
He's also keeping pace with Spitz on the record front. Spitz set world standards in all of his wins at Munich; Phelps is now 5-for-5 in China.
Everyone wanted to get a look at history, including the U.S. men's basketball team. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were among those cheering on Phelps from poolside seats. James posed for pictures with Phelps' mom, Debbie.
In the semifinals of the 100 free, Australia's Eamon Sullivan and France's Alain Bernard played takeaway with the record Sullivan set two days earlier.
In the first heat, Bernard won in 47.20 to knock down Sullivan's mark of 47.24 from the leadoff leg of the memorable 400 free relay. That record lasted all of two minutes. Sullivan won the second heat in 47.05, setting up a thrilling showdown in tomorrow's final.
Italian Frederica Pelligrini's broke the mark she set a day earlier in the semifinals of the women's 200 free, winning gold in 1:54.82. The old record was 1:55.45.
BEIJING - China won its first Olympic gold medal in women's gymnastics early today, taking the most important title in its rivalry with the Americans.
China finished with 188.9 points in the women's team final, more than two points ahead of the Americans, who came in as world champions and with the sport's two best gymnasts.
The Americans lost any shot they had with multiple mistakes on their last two events, and had to settle for silver for a second straight Olympics.
Defending champion Romania was third.39.90601 116.3879