Saturday, August 16, 2008

Human eye can't keep up with fast-closing Phelps

Human eye can't keep up with fast-closing Phelps

BEIJING (AP) -- The eyes didn't have it. Lucky for Michael Phelps technology did.

Phelps got his seventh Olympic gold medal to match Mark Spitz's record haul but it took some doing.

The finish was impossible to see with the naked eye, so close that video and timing reviews down to the 10-thousandth of a second were needed.

Anyone watching in the jammed-to-the-rafters Water Cube or on television thought Milorad Cavic of Serbia had pulled off a monumental upset Saturday morning, spoiling Phelps' chance at breaking Spitz's vaunted record of seven golds in a single games.

Not so, thanks to technology.

"The timing system says it all," Phelps said. "There hasn't really been an error in the timing system that I've ever heard of. The scoreboard said I got my hand on the wall first."

But he - and everyone else - wasn't sure until a "1" appeared by Phelps' name and a "2" by Cavic. They were separated by a hundredth of a second, the smallest margin measured in swimming.

"It's almost too close to see," Phelps said after watching a frame-by-frame replay on computer.

Even Phelps' coach was in doubt.