Michael Phelps, the first of his kind

LONDON — You can’t write history. It doesn’t come neatly packaged, wrapped up with a pretty bow.

If Michael Phelps had been able to write the script here Tuesday night, of course he would have won his signature event, the 200-meter butterfly. Didn’t happen. He got caught between strokes at the very end, and he took silver. What a way to win his 18th career Olympic medal, tying him with Russian gymnast Larysa Latinina, who won her medals in the 1950s and 1960s.


Missy Franklin living up to the hype in Olympic debut

LONDON — Missy Franklin can swim. No one ever had any doubt about that. She had announced herself on the international stage last summer at the world championships in Shanghai, when she won five medals, three of them gold.

Missy Franklin has personality the force of several suns. She is happy, it seems, all the time. The older members of the U.S. national team marvel at her energy. Plus, and you can check this out for yourself in the swim team’s “Call Me Maybe” take-off video, she can dance.


For French relay, revenge is so délicieux

LONDON — One of the enduring images of the 2008 Beijing Olympics is the primal scream that Michael Phelps uttered on the pool deck when Jason Lezak, seemingly seized by an out-of-body experience, delivered a swim for the ages.

In overtaking France’s Alain Bernard, Lezak — who swam 100 meters in 46.06 seconds — secured relay gold for the United States and, not so incidentally, kept alive Phelps’ historic chase for eight gold medals.