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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Phelps in upbeat mood

Michael Phelps in action in Athens
I've said all along I wanted one gold medal and I've got that
Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps refused to be downbeat after finishing third in the men's Olympic 200m freestyle final.

The American's dream of emulating Mark Spitz's seven golds is over after he finished behind Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband.

But Phelps, 19, said: "How can I be disappointed when I swam in a field with the two fastest 200m freestylers of all time and was right in there?

"It's an honour winning any Olympic gold - I am already successful."

World record holder Thorpe set a new Olympic best with a time of one minute 44.71 seconds - the third fastest in history.

Phelps' ambition to win eight golds began in spectacular fashion when he won the 400m individual medley relay on Saturday.

PHELPS FEATS in ATHENS
400m individual medley: Gold
4x100 freestyle relay: Bronze
200m freestyle: Bronze
Still to come:
200m individual medley
200m butterfly
4x100m medley relay
100m butterfly
4x200m free relay

But his hopes for a second gold were dashed when the USA 4x100 relay team could only finish third in the finals on Sunday.

But despite the setbacks, Phelps has no regrets about attempting Spitz's record.

"I had an opportunity and I tried to do something that he did, but I didn't," he said. "When I started to swim I never thought I would have an opportunity to go for seven.

"But I've said all along I wanted one gold medal and I've got that. That was my goal and I've achieved it.

"You are an Olympic champion forever, no one can take it away from you.

"Trying to go for seven was something I will remember throughout my swimming career."

Phelps is back in action on Tuesday when he goes for gold again in the 200m butterfly final.

He was beaten into second in the first semi-final on Monday by British swimmer Stephen Parry.






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VOTE RESULTS
Who is the bigger swimming star?
Michael Phelps - the more accomplished all-rounder
11%
Ian Thorpe - the Aussie who continues to amaze
74%
Can't choose between them - both are supreme athletes
15%
55355 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



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