Odds suggest Phelps is poised to create Olympic history tonight
The American enters two races this evening and is favourite in both of them
Michael Phelps needs just two more medals to become the most successful Olympian of all-time – and the odds suggest he’ll do just that this evening.
Phelps is priced at 8/11 to win the 200m butterfly, while he and his American teammates are in at 1/4 to win the 4 x 200m freestyle relay.
After his eight gold medals in 2008 saw him overtake Mark Spitz’s record, Phelps already has more gold medals (14) than any other Olympian in history.
However, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina currently has 18 overall and a brace of medals this evening would see him overtake her by one.
With Phelps and the Americans being such large favourites in the two events, that looks assured – but it’s gold medals that he will really want.
He failed to win the 400m individual medley earlier in the week – an event he won at the last two Olympics – but will be expected to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event in three consecutive Olympics this evening.
Phelps was hugely disappointing in that race and he certainly doesn’t have the air of invincibility surrounding him that he did four years ago.
Takeshi Matsuda has been impressive in making the butterfly final though and recorded the fastest qualifying time of 1 minute and 54.25 seconds. He is second favourite at 9/4 and is the only competitor who has a realistic chance of usurping Phelps.
Meanwhile, the USA 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay team are even bigger favourites and should come away with the gold.