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MICHAEL PHELPS is in the process of proving that his otherwordly six-gold-medal performance at the 2004 Olympic Games was merely his opening act. Last spring Phelps, 22, won seven golds (it would have been eight if not for a relay disqualification) and broke five world records at the world championships in Melbourne, Australia. The middle school principal's son from Towson, Md., will arrive in Beijing next summer as the U.S. face of the 2008 Olympics. NBC has moved swimming finals to the early morning hours in China so that U.S. viewers can watch in prime time as Phelps tries to match—or better—Mark Spitz's total of seven golds from Munich in 1972.
MARION JONES was the Michael Phelps of 2000. She was the Golden Girl of the Sydney Olympics, arriving with her own Nike ad campaign and leaving with five medals and hopes of riding her success and her smile to fame beyond the track. Instead, Jones spent seven years fighting drug rumors and in October admitted to using steroids both before and after the Sydney Games, essentially wiping her career off the books. It was the most damning moment in track and field since Ben Johnson's notorious steroid positive at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and it left a generation of fans feeling empty and cheated.
WE KNOW the U.S. excels in sprinting, swimming, gymnastics, basketball—but how did the nation get so good in Greco-Roman wrestling? In case you weren't aware, Greco-Roman is an ancient sport, traditionally dominated by Eastern European nations and Cuba; the U.S. has won just one Olympic Greco-Roman gold medal in a nonboycott Olympics (Rulon Gardner's in 2000). Yet in September a veteran squad of U.S. wrestlers who had been seasoned by years of brutal training and tens of thousands of miles of travel to unglamorous venues, won the team title at the world championships in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Olympics, however, are not a team competition, and the U.S. will struggle in Beijing to add to its gold medal total.
2.15 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS THAT BOUGHT THE TELECAST OF THE MAY 5 FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.-OSCAR
DE LA HOYA BOUT, A PAY-PER-VIEW RECORD. 30 TOP 10 FINISHES BY JEFF GORDON, A NASCAR CUP RECORD.
0 GOALS ALLOWED BY GERMANY IN WINNING THE WOMEN'S WORLD CUP, A CUP FIRST FOR WOMEN OR MEN.
4:44.8 PACE PER MILE BY HAILE GEBRSELASSIE IN HIS WORLD-RECORD (2:04:26) BERLIN MARATHON