Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance in 1972 took on greater significance as the years passed and no one came close to that mark. Now that Phelps owns the record, it may require a few Summer Olympics before his performance in Beijing gets the proper respect. Australian swimmer Grant Hackett said of Phelps' dominance: "It can't be described. We'll never, ever see it again." At least not for a long time.
Text: George Dohrmann/SI.com
Photo: Simon Bruty(2), Heinz Kluetmeier/SI