Phelps wins first Beijing gold

US swimming ace Michael Phelps begins his quest for a record eight gold medals.

    Phelps is aiming for a record eight golds at the Beijing games [GALLO/GETTY]

    George Bush, the US president, and his father, the former US president, joined spectators to watch Phelps compete.

    "I'm pretty happy with that, it was a pretty emotional race," said Phelps, who described Bush's presence as "cool."

    Hungarian Laszlo Cseh took the silver medal with Ryan Lochte of the United States getting bronze.

    IN DEPTH


    Coverage from the 29th summer Olympics

    Phelps, who won six golds in Athens in 2004, has his eyes on an unprecedented eight gold medals in Beijing, and had earlier described the 400m individual medley as his weakest race.

    US swimmer Mark Spitz's holds the current record of seven gold medals taken at one games, the 1972 Munich Olympics.

    Even if he only wins half of his events, Phelps will still hold more golds than any other Olympic athlete in history.

    Basketball blockbuster

    Later on Sunday basketball fans were preparing for a blockbuster showdown between host nation China, led by NBA star Yao Ming, and a star-studded US team.

    The Americans are hoping for a better performance than in Athens four year ago when the team scored a meager bronze.

    Commentators say the evening match, which the US president is also expected to attend, could be the most-watched sporting contest ever in China.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.