Glenn Eller celebrates winning gold in men's double trap at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 12, 2008 in Beijing.
From the thrilling Opening Ceremony to Michael Phelps’ iconic eight gold medals, the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 were truly unforgettable. Relive the 10-year anniversary of the Games through Aug. 24 as TeamUSA.org recaps the daily highlights from Beijing. Here’s a look at Team USA's performance on Day 4, Aug. 12, 2008.
One day after collecting gold medal No. 2 via a photo finish, Michael Phelps took the drama out of his third gold medal at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. In a wire-to-wire performance, Phelps easily won the men’s 200-meter freestyle on Day 4 of the Games, breaking his own world record by 1.89 seconds in the process.
After three finals, Phelps now had three gold medals with five attempts to go.
He wasn’t the only American to shine on Day 4.
In fact, U.S. athletes had their most successful day yet with 10 medals on Aug. 12. And — little surprise — most of them came in the pool.
On the women’s side, Natalie Coughlin won her second medal of the Games, this time a gold in the women’s 100-meter backstroke, with teammate Margaret Hoelzer winning bronze. Coughlin also became the first swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title in the event.
The men also stacked the podium in the 100 back, with Aaron Peirsol winning gold and Matt Grevers the silver.
Rebecca Soni took the silver medal in the women’s 100 breaststroke, while Peter Vanderkaay, who finished third behind Phelps in the 200 free, won the other U.S. swimming medal.
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Continuing another trend, Team USA won another shooting medal, as Glenn Eller won the men’s double trap gold, setting Olympic records in both the qualification round and the final. The win marked the third U.S. shooting medal so far, and the first gold.
“I’m going to go find my parents and celebrate,” Eller, a specialist in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, told the Army News Service. “They’ve been here all week and to the last two Olympics watching me. To have them here and to finally win a gold medal for them is incredible.”
Eller’s win remains Team USA’s only Olympic medal in men’s double trap.
Equestrian Gina Miles, riding McKinlaigh, added a silver in individual eventing.
The last U.S. medal might have been the biggest surprise.
Defending Olympic all-around champion Paul Hamm withdrew from the U.S. men’s gymnastics team in July due to injury, and then twin brother and fellow 2004 Olympian Morgan withdrew two days ahead of the Games with an injury of his own.
Yet with replacements in tow, Jonathan Horton and Co. propelled themselves to a bronze medal, finishing behind China and Japan.
Among the late replacements for Team USA was Kevin Tan, whose family is from China.
“I never thought, in my wildest dreams, I would be here,” Tan told the New York Times. “This is my heritage. To be able to do it in China is fantastic.”
Chrös McDougall covered the 2008 Games for the Olympic News Service. He has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.