Mark Spitz described Michael Phelp's performance best: Epic.
Spitz's record had stood for 36 years, but Spitz had competed in only two strokes in the '72 Olympics, freestyle and butterfly, and none of his races were over 200 meters.
Phelps swam all four strokes, (free, fly, back, breast) in lengths ranging from 100 to 400 meters, swam 17 races over 9 days, broke 7 world records... and won 8 Olympic gold medals.
Thanks Michael. Without your gold medals, the US would be trailing China in gold by 18 (instead of 10), tied with Germany, and only two ahead of Korea. (as of 8-16)