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Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 12:00 UK

Phelps left speechless by acclaim

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Video - Phelps targets new goals for London

Record-breaking American swimmer Michael Phelps has told the BBC he has been left "speechless" by the reaction to his eight gold medals in Beijing.

He broke Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at one Games to become the most successful Olympian of all time.

"I spoke to the President who said the country was behind me, and said 'give your mum a hug and tell her the President said to'," said Phelps, 23.

"It's unreal having this feedback, you never realise it could happen."

606: DEBATE
Phelps's success has been announced at baseball games and even rock concerts and shown on big screens.

"Having Bruce Springsteen come out at a concert and say I'd just won my seventh gold medal and then sing 'Born in the USA' - it's incredible, you never realise it could happen - you're speechless."

When he was growing up, one of Phelps's heroes was basketball legend Michael Jordan, and he said he hoped he could follow in his footsteps.

"Growing up, I always remember the 'I want to be like Mike' ads with Jordan," he said.

"He's one of the people I've always wanted to meet. I've never met him.

"What he did in the sport of basketball is what I am trying to do in the sport of swimming. He completely changed the sport of basketball."




see also
Phelps to attend London handover
18 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Phelps flag designs
18 Aug 08 |  Olympics
Phelps wins historic eighth gold
17 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Phelps' eight steps to greatness
16 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Spitz hails Phelps 'the greatest'
16 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Ten to watch: Michael Phelps
13 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Phelps breaks Olympic gold record
13 Aug 08 |  Swimming
Phelps cements place in history
13 Aug 08 |  Swimming


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