"The guy who probably has more of a problem with it is Michael," Spitz said. "Michael can't be Michael. Michael's middle name is 'Mark Spitz,' basically. Somebody once said to me, 'If you're a great champion and you're considered special, then my greatness becomes a matter of record that others measure themselves by. If that's the case, that's only positive for me being linked to him because he measures what I've done as a benchmark of something he'd like to achieve. We've only seen this once in 36 years. We had
Phelps has already passed Biondi. With Saturday's finals of the 100 butterfly (10:10 p.m. ET on Friday night) Phelps goes after Spitz's record of seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics. But it won't be easy.
• The two men with the best chance to derail the road to Spitzville? Teammate
"It would be good for the sport if he loses,'' said Cavic, who swims for Serbia via Cal-Berkeley. "It'd be good for him if he loses. It would be nice if historians talk about Michael Phelps winning seven gold medals and losing the eighth to some guy. I'd like to be that guy.''
Crocker and Phelps had combined for the 17 fastest times in history in the 100 butterfly heading into the Olympics. "If both men swim at their absolute best, Crocker would be favored, but Crocker has never been a big-race guy," says SI's
• Other action at the pool includes a duel between Zimbabwe's
• The glamour event of track -- the men's 100 final -- comes at the end of the competition on Saturday (10:30 a.m. ET). The staff consensus here in Beijing? Take
• The women's 100 (
• Plenty of team action for the Americans: The U.S. meets New Zealand ("the Black Sticks") in women's field hockey (8:30 p.m.), Poland in women's foil (9 p.m.), China in men's volleyball (10 p.m.), Canada in men's baseball (10:30 p.m.), Taiwan in softball (midnight) and Croatia in men's water polo (12:10 a.m.). Of course the team competition that will draw the most interest in the States is men's basketball. The Redeem (Don't Call us Dream) Team plays Spain at 10:15 a.m. Both teams are 3-0. The U.S. has never lost to Spain in eight meetings.
•The U.S. women's table-tennis team has advanced to its deepest round in Olympic history. The team of
• Women's 3-meter springboard diving continues with semifinals at 8 p.m. The semis will feature the top 18 divers from preliminaries.
"Playing in the Olympics, in what's supposed to be considered a gentleman's sport, that's a time to call it on yourself. Fernando looked me square in the eye and didn't call it. I make mistakes, but I try to do it with integrity, so my parents would be proud of the way I played. If that happened the other way, I never would have finished the match because my father would have pulled me off the court if I had acted that way.
"I've spoken all week about how much I've enjoyed the Olympic experience, how much I love the spirit of it, how much I love the other athletes, what they've sacrificed and you appreciate that. And the guys go out and compete their hardest, win fair and square, lose fair and square. That's a disappointing way to exit the tournament, when you not only lose the match, but you lose a little faith in your fellow competitor."
"It's a feeling that I don't think any father can describe. Many years ago I was second at the Seoul Olympics, so it's nice to fix that mistake I made."
• One week into the Beijing Games, SI's
• Color SI.com's