With eight gold medals hanging from his neck, Phelps posed for SI's exclusive cover portrait after completing his Beijing swim through history.
2 of 9Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Michael Phelps dominated his first final of the Beijing Olympics, crushing his own world record with a time of 4 minutes, 3.84 seconds in the 400-meter individual medley.
3 of 9John W. McDonough/SI
Jason Lezak's amazing final lap enabled Phelps to win his second gold of the Beijing Olympics and Garrett Weber-Gale's first. Cullen Jones (not pictured) was the fourth member of the relay team.
4 of 9Simon Bruty/SI
Michael Phelps won his third gold medal with his victory in the 200 meter freestyle. He swam in world record time of 1:42.96.
5 of 9John Biever/SI
Michael Phelps won his fourth gold in the 200m butterfly with a new world record time of 1:52.03, despite looking sluggish and having his goggles fill with water.
6 of 9Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Ricky Berens, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps celebrate after the Americans broke the seven-minute mark in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay. It was gold No. 5 for Phelps.
7 of 9Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
The only battle was for silver and bronze as Michael Phelps broke his own record in the 200 IM for the seventh time, easily beating Laszlo Cseh of Hungary and teammate Ryan Lochte to collect his sixth gold medal.
8 of 9Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Phelps' victory in the 100-meter butterfly was perhaps his most stunning of the Games. Trailing early, Phelps (left) came back from seventh place to out-touch Serbia's Milorad Cavic by 0.01 seconds and tie Mark Spitz's record with seven gold medals in a single Olympics.
9 of 9Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Michael Phelps won his Olympic-record eighth gold medal with a little help from his friends. After Phelps gave the U.S. the lead in the butterfly leg of the 400-meter medley relay, anchor Jason Lezak held off Aussie Eamon Sullivan in the freestyle to nail down the win in a world-record 3 minutes, 29.34 seconds.
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