BEIJING (AP) He did it - barely, barely, barely.
Michael Phelps tied Mark Spitz's record for the most gold medals at a single Olympics on Saturday, getting his seventh in Beijing by winning the 100-meter butterfly by the slimmest of margins - 0.01 seconds.
Phelps had dominated all his previous individual races, and some thought this might be a coronation because the butterfly is his signature stroke. But the 23-year-old from Baltimore looked like an also-ran for much of this one, not leading until the final inches.
"I had no idea," Phelps said.
Seventh out of eight at the turn, Phelps' was closing on the lead headed home. It looked to be too little, too late as Serbia's Milorad Cavic was gliding toward the wall, but Phelps did another mini-stroke and smacked the wall with his hands.
"I was starting to hurt a little bit with probably the last 10 meters," Phelps said. "That was my last individual race, so I was just trying to finish as strong as I could."
Phelps then pulled off his goggles and looked up at the scoreboard. When he saw the "1'' next to his name, he pointed, swung his left arm, then joyously splashed the water.
He's No. 1 all right. The greatest Olympian ever, his career haul now up to 13 golds. Add a pair of bronzes and he's tied former Soviet gymnast Nikolai Andrianov for the most career medals by a male athlete.
"Epic," Spitz said Saturday morning when reached by The Associated Press in Detroit, where his youngest son was playing in a basketball tournament. "He's the greatest racer who ever walked the planet."
Phelps also is a million bucks richer, courtesy of a bonus put up by sponsor Speedo if he could match Spitz's feat from the 1972 Munich Olympics.
And he's not done yet. Phelps will swim the butterfly leg of the 400-meter medley relay Sunday. With a little help from his friends, Phelps could go 8-for-8 in a country that so reveres the number that these games began on 8-8-08.
The weather Saturday morning was the best yet, even clearer skies than the day before, a great way to start a weekend in which 64 gold medals would be decided.
Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry won the first, defending her Olympic title in the women's 200-meter backstroke and setting a world record; American Margaret Hoelzer got the silver.
Britain's Rebecca Adlington broke Janet Evans' 19-year-old world record in winning the women's 800-meter freestyle, and Cesar Cielo won the 50-meter freestyle, earning Brazil its first-ever gold medal in swimming.
Also, 41-year-old Dara Torres was the fastest qualifier in the women's 50 freestyle. She'll have the middle lane for the final Sunday morning.
Through Saturday's first six events, the United States was atop the medals table with 48. China is second with 41, but the hosts lead with 26 gold, more than the entire haul of any delegation except the Americans.
"That's a little more pressure," said Torres, whose collection of 10 medals includes bronze in this event in Sydney, "and I'm old enough to be able to handle it."
Elsewhere at the Olympics on Saturday morning:
-The U.S. men's volleyball team beat China in three sets, but the bigger news was coach Hugh McCutcheon rejoining the team a week after a knife attack that killed his father-in-law and wounded his mother-in-law. The woman, Barbara Bachman, arrived in her home state of Minnesota on Friday for treatment at the Mayo Clinic.
"I wouldn't have come back if I wasn't ready to come back," McCutcheon said. "It's what I do - get out on the sidelines and get the boys fired up."
-At the Bird's Nest, Russia's Valeriy Borchin won the 20-kilometer walk, upstaging the defending champion; and U.S. sprinters Lauryn Williams, Torri Edwards and Muna Lee advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's 100-meter dash.
-American Keith Sanderson was in first place after qualifying in the men's 25-meter rapid-fire pistol, but he wound up fifth. Ukraine's Oleksandr Petriv won it.
- Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers advanced to the quarterfinals in beach volleyball with a tight three-set win over a Swiss pair. Heavy favorites to win the gold medal in their Olympic debuts, Dalhausser and Rogers have won three straight since getting upset by 23rd-seeded Latvia in their opener.
-China's gold count is about to go up with two women competing in the badminton finals.
From Friday's action in Beijing:
Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson finished 1-2 in the all-around - a reverse of their usual order of finish in this event.
Johnson was tops at the world championship, the national championships and at the Olympic trials only a few weeks ago. But not when it counted most.
"There is nothing bigger or greater than this," Liukin said.
Track and field
Tyson Gay coasted through two 100 meter preliminary heats, showing his left hamstring is just fine six weeks after hurting it at the U.S. Olympic trials.
World record-holder Usain Bolt and the guy he took it from, fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, also advanced easily to the final 16. All three are expected to make Saturday's final - perhaps the most highly anticipated event of the 10-day track and field meet at the Bird's Nest.
In the semis, Powell and Gay will run the same heat, while Bolt's biggest challenge in the other semi figures to be from America's Walter Dix and Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas.
"I feel pretty good. It felt pretty relaxed," Gay said after his second race. "I just wanted to make it through."
Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the 10,000 meters in an Olympic record 29 minutes, 54.66 seconds. Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse took silver, while Shalane Flanagan set an American record at 30:22.22 to win bronze. It was the first U.S. medal in the 10K since 1992.
In the men's 1,500, Bernard Lagat, Leo Manzano and U.S. team flagbearer Lopez Lomong all made it out of their first races.
The men's shot put was a big disappointment for the Americans. Instead of sweeping, they got only a silver from Christian Cantwell. Poland's Tomasz Majewski won gold.
Reese Hoffa, the reigning world champion, was seventh and his U.S. teammate Adam Nelson, the two-time Olympic silver medalist, threw with hurt ribs and didn't make it into the final eight.
Turns out, the U.S. women are as dominant as ever.
First they set an Olympic record with four homers in a 7-0 victory over Japan. Then they resumed a rain-stopped game against Canada, trailing 1-0. After being five outs from losing, they wound up winning by the lopsided score of 8-1.
The Americans broke the game open with four runs in the sixth, helped by two errors by Canadian shortstop Jennifer Salling, and a wild pitch and hit batter by Dione Meier of Canada, which beat China 1-0 earlier in the day.
In other games, Australia beat Taiwan 3-1 and Venezuela beat the Netherlands 8-0.
The U.S. women started slowly, then got clicking, pounding Spain 93-55. Tina Thompson scored nine of her 17 points during a game-breaking 20-5 run in the third quarter and Lisa Leslie added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
With the win, the U.S. has 29 straight victories in Olympic contests. The last loss was to the Unified team in the 1992 semifinals.
In other games, Australia topped Latvia 96-73, Russia edged Brazil 74-64, the Czech Republic beat New Zealand 90-59, China routed Mali 69-48 and Belarus topped South Korea 63-53.
An American won't win the men's singles title.
James Blake, the last hope left, lost to Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, who blew four match points before winning 6-4, 5-7, 11-9.
Gonzalez, seeded 12th, will play in Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, who beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to clinch his first Olympic medal. It was after midnight when Nadal won in dramatic fashion, scrambling to retrieve two overhead slams by Djokovic. The Serb then shanked a third overhead, and Nadal collapsed to the ground in jubilation.
New women's No. 1 Jelena Jankovic lost in the quarterfinals to No. 6 Dinara Safina, who will play China's Li Na in the semifinals. The other semi will pit Russians Elena Dementieva and No. 9 Vera Zvonareva.
In doubles, Roger Federer kept alive his hope for an Olympic gold medal, joining Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka to upset top-ranked American twins Bob and Mike Bryan and win a spot in the final.
Federer and Wawrinka will face unseeded Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson Saturday. The Swedes beat French duo Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra 7-6 (6), 4-6, 19-17.
Venus and Serena Williams, both eliminated in singles Thursday, won twice to reach the semifinals in doubles, but Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, of Spain.
Sisters Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine, beat Italian pair Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.
And Yan Zi and Zheng Jie of China beat Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova and Dinara Safina 6-3, 5-7, 10-8, in a match that didn't end until 3:35 a.m. Saturday. It was the latest known finish at any sporting event in Olympic history, the International Tennis Federation said.
The U.S. baseball team is in trouble. They fell to 1-2, lost a key player to an injury and have angered the mighty Cubans by accusing them of dirty play after losing to them 5-4 in 11 innings.
In their first game under a wacky extra-inning format - from the 11th on, teams automatically get runners on first and second and can start anywhere in the batting order - the Americans gave up two runs in the top of the inning, then fell one shy in the bottom. The last at-bat started with Jayson Nix squaring to bunt and fouling the pitch off his left eye.
Nix later underwent microsurgery to close about a 2-inch wound above his eye and will not play again in China.
The other early game was the first to invoke the new extra-inning rule. China won it 8-7 over Taiwan in 12 innings. Also, South Korea beat Canada 1-0 and Japan beat the Netherlands 6-0.
The Emmons family picked up another medal. This time, it was hubby Matt getting silver in the 50-meter prone, an event he won four years ago. His wife, Katerina, who shoots for the Czech Republic, has a gold and a silver from these games.
Also, American Vincent Hancock was leading after the first day of men's skeet qualifications.
With China's president watching, the U.S. team coached by former Chinese star Jenny Lang Ping knocked off the hosts in five sets. The Americans are 3-2 overall, in good shape to advance. China fell to 2-2.
In other games, Brazil, the top-ranked team in the world, defeated Kazakhstan 3-0. The Brazilians are undefeated after four pool matches and are assured a spot in the quarterfinals.
Poland won its first match of pool play with a 3-0 victory over winless Venezuela, Russia defeated Algeria in three sets, Italy defeated Serbia 3-0 and Cuba defeated Japan 3-0.
Natasha Kai scored on a header in extra time, sending the defending champion Americans into the semifinals with a 2-1 victory over Canada. The game was suspended for one hour and 40 minutes during the first half because of lightning.
Brazil advanced with a 2-1 win over Norway, Japan beat China 2-0 and Germany won against Sweden 2-0.
Japan will play the United States in the semifinals, while Brazil will take on Germany.
Sergey Vodopyanov, the world champion bantamweight, and Raynell Williams, a serious American medal contender, lost Friday night, both saying they were wronged by subjective calls. Vodopyanov was edged by India's Akhil Kumar on total punches in a fight that ended 9-all, while Williams fell behind early and never caught up to France's Khedafi Djelkhir.
Powerhouse Russia has just five fighters left in the games, including lightweight Alexey Tishchenko who beat Australia's Anthony Little 11-3. Four American boxers remain.
Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko continues making a name for himself, beating his second medal-caliber foe in as many fights. His next fight will be against China's Li Yang in the quarterfinals.
China's surprising team has six boxers still in the tournament amid complaints from some fighters about judges favoring the home nation.
Cuba kept nine boxers in with wins by lightweight Yordenis Ugas, bantamweight Yankiel Leon and featherweight Idel Torriente, who came from behind in the fourth round to beat Mongolia's Enkhzorig Zorigtbaatar 10-9.
Look out for the Slovaks on the whitewater course.
Twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner won their third straight gold medal in double canoe slalom and countrywoman Elena Kaliska won the women's single kayak slalom for her second straight gold in the event.
When South Korean Park Kyung-mo got an 8 on his next-to-last shot, tying the finals, Ukraine's Viktor Ruban responded with a perfect 10. Park could've forced a shoot-off with a perfect score of his own, but he was a few millimeters wide, giving Ruban the gold.
American Vic Wunderle, who took silver in 2000, knocked off the reigning champion to get to the quarterfinals, but didn't get a medal.
China got its seventh and eighth gold medals in weightlifting, with Lu Yong winning the fourth by a man and Cao Lei taking the fourth for a woman.
"We have proved our strength," Cao said.
Kendrick Farris set two U.S. records in the men's 85-kilogram division, but had to settle for eighth place.
It was a big day for Britain, with the British beating France for the gold in men's team sprint and Bradley Wiggins setting an Olympic record in qualifying for the 4,000-meter individual pursuit.
American Taylor Phinney - the 18-year-old son of 1984 gold medalist Connie Carpenter-Phinney and '84 bronze medalist Davis Phinney - advanced in the pursuit race with his parents watching from the front row.
China's Tong Wen won a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Athens champion Maki Tsukada to take the women's heavyweight title and deny Japan a golden double on the final day of competition.
Japan's Satoshi Ishii, making his Olympic debut, defeated Uzbekistan's Abdullo Tangriev to win the men's over 100-kg.
British star Ben Ainslie was assured his fourth medal when he stretched his overall Finn class lead over American Zach Railey going into Saturday's medal race. Even if he were disqualified in the final race, his point total would assure him at least a silver medal.
In the Yngling class, the Dutch team of Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen lead all the way in Friday's race, scoring a win that brings them within one point of the leaders, Britons Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson. That means Saturday's final will be a British-Dutch match race for gold, with the remaining boats in a scramble for bronze.
Du Jing and Yu Yang won China's first-ever gold in badminton, taking women's doubles over a South Korean team. Another Chinese tandem got the bronze, beating a Japanese duo that knocked off the top-seeded, defending Olympic champions.
China's Phelp-ian run to eight gold medals still looks good, with Guo Jingjing leading after the women's 3-meter springboard preliminaries.
Guo, who already successfully defended her synchronized springboard title with partner Wu Minxia, is in position to claim her second consecutive Olympic 3-meter individual title.
France won the team gold in men's epee for a second straight Olympics, easily defeating Poland in the title bout. Poland still won its first medal in the event since 1980.
Bronze is still a possibility for the U.S. women's team, which knocked off Romania 3-1 and moved into a semifinal. The American team features two retired members of the Chinese national squad who resurrected their careers after immigrating to the United States.
China and Singapore will slug it out for gold.
Patrick Lam of Hong Kong jumped a clear round in the show-jumping qualifier in his hometown at the first Olympics equestrian event that included riders both from Hong Kong and China. Ian Millar of Canada tied a record at the same event for competing in the most Olympics for any individual, with nine since 1972.