- 31 Jul 08, 08:27 AM
In Britain we quite rightly get excited when any of our Olympic athletes wins a medal, be that gold, silver or bronze.
Remember the hysteria surrounding Dame Kelly Holmes, as she would later be titled, following her double gold success in Athens?
Imagine the level to which that hysteria would jump if we ever produced an athlete of the calibre of Alexander Dityatin (pictured top left) or Michael Phelps (top right).
The Soviet gymnast and American swimmer are members of one of the most exclusive Olympic clubs after winning eight medals at one Games.
Dityatin set up the club at the 1980 Moscow Games, when he won three gold, four silver and one bronze, also becoming the first athlete to medal in all eight gymnastic disciplines at one Olympics.
He was also the first male gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 in the vault, matching Nadia Comaneci's feat four years earlier in Montreal.
Phelps joined after an astonishing display in the pool in Athens four years ago. Then 19 years old, he picked up six golds, including four individual titles, and two bronzes.
His haul covered a mutlitude of disciplines. Golds came in the 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400m individual medley, 200m freestyle relay and 100m medley relay, while third place finishes came in the 200m freestyle and 100m freestyle relay.
Phelps has broken an amazing 25 world records in his career to date and is going for eight golds in Beijing.
Just four would lift him above Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina, Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, US swimmer Mark Spitz and US athlete Carl Lewis, who all won nine golds in their Olympic careers.
Will there be a new name at the top of the all-time Olympic gold medallists list come the end of the Beijing Games?
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