Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps picks his best race from 2008 Beijing Olympics

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Of Michael Phelps‘ eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the swimmer said his best performance was the 200m freestyle.

“I look at that race, and today, still, and say that’s probably my best race I’ve ever swam in my life from start to finish,” Phelps said in 2015. “It was kind of over at 15 meters. I was in the best shape possible. My stroke was perfect. Everything about that race, to me, was the best.”

Phelps, in the seventh of 17 swims at those Games, took nine tenths of a second off his world record. He clocked 1:42.96, winning by 1.89 seconds, the largest margin in that event’s Olympic history. On his secretive goal sheet, Phelps had scribbled 1:43.5, according to his book “No Limits: The Will to Succeed.”

“As soon as I popped up, I saw myself almost a half-body length ahead after 15 meters,” Phelps said on NBC later that night, after swimming a 200m butterfly semifinal about 50 minutes following the 200m free final. “The plan was to take it out, dare them to try and catch me.”

All of Phelps’ eight gold-medal finals air on NBCSN’s Olympi Games Week on Monday. A full schedule is here.

The 200m free was perhaps the most fickle of Phelps’ Olympic events.

In 2004, he went against coach Bob Bowman‘s suggestion and contested it at the Olympics, finishing third in the “Race of the Century” behind Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband. He broke the American record.

In 2012, Phelps edged Ryan Lochte at the Olympic Trials. But he dropped the event off his London Olympic program, not wanting to attempt the same, daunting eight-event schedule as 2004 and 2008.

He chose not to race the 200m free at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Bowman agreed that the 200m free was Phelps’ best in Beijing.

“His best in terms of just a pure performance,” Bowman said in 2016, while noting his personal favorite was the 400m IM, where Phelps set his only individual world record that still stands today. “A dominating performance.”

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2020 French Open women’s singles draw, bracket

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, bracket

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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