P helps was about to go to seven straight Golds in these Olympics. He was trying to shake off the nerves. He was about to swim for Mark Spitz’s record, but Spitz did not have to face Milorad Cavic of Serbia. In the preliminaries, he passed Michael for the second fastest time in history. Michael and Milorad would race side by side in lanes 4 and 5. Ian Crocker of the US gets a chance to medal along with Phelps.
Michael looked nervous. The camera flashed to Phelps mother in the stands and she was trembling and shaking in her seat. His sisters looked scared, one pursing her lips and the other staring into space. None were smiling; all were fidgeting. They knew, this was no cake-walk, and they all knew what was at stake.
Phelps leaped off the stand and into the pool taking the early lead. The question was, when history was on the line, as so often happens, could Michael choke or have any number of possible slips that lead to a single loss that denies them history? Or could another swimmer like Cavic rise to the challenge to show Michael was not perfect and take the Gold away?
At the first turn, Cavic had the lead. Cavic is fast, and he had beaten Phelps in the preliminaries, was Phelps to be denied? Phelps was behind; Cavic in the lead going to the finish. No question Cavic had this race, but Michael demonstrated why he is so very superior to the rest of the world. Not only does he have the natural ability and physical talent, he has a heart that will not let him lose.
Phelps surged in the final 20 meters and gradually gained on Cavic. But even near the end, it looked like Cavic would win. On the final stroke, the very final stroke, the absolute last split second, Phelps touched first for the Gold. Cavic took Silver.
#7 for Phelps. Cavic was shocked. Phelps won by 1/100 of a second!! Michael didn’t look agitated this time around; he looked relieved. Cavic had come 1/100 of a second from halting Michael’s run, demonstrating that even the best have their nemesis.
It was a final stroke, which you have to see to believe; we will provide that video if you missed it. Cavic is reaching for the Gold and Michael is still in a final stroke. Phelps knew it was close and thrust forward in that final stroke to miraculously touch simultaneously with Cavic. For all intents and purposes, this was a tie. But 1/100 of a second can make the difference in the Olympics, and that slightest of differences, the closest race in Olympics history took Gold #7 for Phelps!!
Phelps mother collapsed to the floor in disbelief. God had blessed them. Phelps looked humbled for the first time in these Olympics, having won with a time of 50.58 to Cavic’s 50.59!! Oh my. Mother of God! Phelps took #7 and we were in tears.