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"Just being here at all is a dream come true," he said. "By being here, it is my own form of redemption."
Phelps’ redemption came after finishing fourth on opening day in the 400 individual medley. Since then, he has been superb every time he leapt off the starting block.
His shadow is so large it clouded out perhaps the London Games’ most surprising swim result. Katie Ledecky, another Maryland swimmer, won the women’s 800 freestyle Friday by routing world-record holder Rebbeca Adlington of Great Britain.
Ledecky, 15, won in 8:14.63, half a second off the world mark. Spain’s Mireia Garcia Belmonte won the silver, while Adlington got the bronze. Cal graduate Lauren Boyle took fourth for New Zealand, 9.23 seconds behind the winner.
Ledecky recalled meeting Phelps when she was 6. Then she credited him with calming her down just before the race.
She never could have imagined stepping to the victory podium on the same night as Phelps, who can’t wait to put aside the singular diet of pasta and pizza for life’s variety.
He promised to stay in shape, though. The slender 6-foot-4 swimmer also promised to remain visible.
But it’s not as if he could simply disappear like a sunset.
History’s most relevant swimmer isn’t an afterthought just yet.
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