Michael Phelps‘ eight-gold-medal performance headlines the first of two nights of Return to Beijing Olympic programming on NBCSN on Monday night.
Phelps’ iconic races air at 8:30 p.m. ET as part of eight hours of 2008 Olympic coverage on NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week.
They are preceded by the men’s beach volleyball final (7 p.m.) and followed by the women’s beach volleyball final (10 p.m.), men’s indoor volleyball final (11 p.m.).
LIVE STREAM: NBCSN Olympic Games Week — Monday, 7 p.m.-3 a.m. ET
Phelps began his Beijing Olympics by winning the 400m individual medley in a world record 4:03.84. It’s Phelps’ only individual world record that still stands and the longest-standings world record in any Olympic men’s or women’s event.
From there, Phelps broke world records in six of his next seven events. But there were close calls, starting with his next final. In the 4x100m freestyle relay, the U.S. trailed France by .59 of a second going into Jason Lezak‘s anchor leg against the 100m free world-record holder, Frenchman Alain Bernard.
Lezak trailed by .82 going into the last 50 meters. Then, with a magic surge, he caught and passed Bernard, touching .08 ahead with the fastest relay leg in history by a whopping .57.
Phelps had one more major challenge — the 100m butterfly. Serbian Milorad Cavic broke the Olympic record in the heats and was again faster than Phelps in the semifinals, where Phelps was coming off the 200m individual medley final.
In the final, Phelps was seventh at the turn. He still trailed Cavic going into the final stroke. Cavic took a long stroke, gliding into the wall. Phelps took an extra half-stroke, smashing the wall. He won by .01. The following morning, Phelps finished off the eight-for-eight effort in the medley relay, breaking Mark Spitz‘s record for golds at a single Games.
In NBCSN’s other Return to Beijing programs Monday, the U.S. swept the beach volleyball finals.
Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers became the third different U.S. men’s pair to take Olympic gold. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings repeated as Olympic champions, extending their international win streak to 69 matches.
The U.S. men’s indoor volleyball team endured tragedy — the death of coach Hugh McCutcheon‘s father-in-law in a random attack in Beijing — en route to triumph. McCutcheon missed the first three matches. The U.S. won them all, plus five more, including a comeback final over Brazil.
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NBCSN Olympic Games Week — Monday, April 20