Swimming legend Michael Phelps suffered a nervy start in his bid to become the greatest Olympian in history on Saturday while Chinese shooter Yi Siling claimed the first gold of the Games.
Phelps, the 27-year-old swimming legend, who has 16 Olympic medals, needs just three medals to surpass Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina’s record of 18.
But the defending champion just scraped into Saturday’s 400m individual medley final by the skin of his teeth.
Phelps finished in 4min 13.33sec to grab the eighth and last spot in the final which takes place later Saturday, but sounded a defiant note afterwards despite his brush with disaster.
“A final spot is a final spot,” Phelps said, while acknowledging he had been caught cold. “I didn’t expect those guys to go that fast. I just wanted to try to get some good underwater, try to get some good times.
“You can’t win the gold medal from the morning,” he added.