Al Bello/Getty
Cynthia Wang
August 15, 2008 05:30 AM

Another one down! Michael Phelps notched another gold medal Friday, winning the 200-meter individual medley in a world-record time of 1:54.23.

For those of you keeping track at home, that makes six gold medals – and six world records – in Beijing. (Phelps also scored six golds and two bronzes four years ago, in Athens.)

“I think if it were all over today, he’d be the greatest Olympian who ever lived,” said U.S. swimming coach Bob Bowman.

About his 200-meter IM swim, Phelps said, “I just wanted to step on it in the first 50 [meters] a little bit and try and get out to an early lead …. I knew in the first half, if I got a big enough lead, I thought I could hang on and that’s all I wanted to do.”

Laszlo Cseh of Hungary placed second to Phelps – for the third time in Beijing. “I tried to do a harder start in the first 100 meters but Michael’s breaststroke is awesome,” Cseh said. “Michael is unbeatable.”

The bronze went to Phelps’s teammate – and friend – Ryan Lochte, who won the gold medal in 200-meter backstroke earlier in the day. (Two races in a single day is a “double” in swimmer parlance.)

“The 200 back and IM is a hard double, if not the hardest,” Phelps said. “Ryan had an incredible swim today and I’m glad to see him get his first gold. I know he’s happy.”

Now Phelps is just two races away from smashing Mark Spitz’s seven-gold mark set in 1972.

Aware of his fans at home, Phelps added at a post-race press conference, “I heard the ratings are the highest ever back home. People are watching the Olympics and swimming. More and more people are getting interested – and hopefully involved.”

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