Is he really the greatest olympian as measured by gold medals in one olympics?
To me the greatest olympian is Eric Heiden, who won 5 INDIVIDUAL gold medals in one Olympics, everything from the 500 meters to 10,000 meter events. Can you imagine any track runner winning both the 100 meter sprint and the 10k and everything in between?
So while everone always talked about Spits 7 golds, three of those golds were in relay events, not individual events. Heiden won one more individual gold than Spitz did.
Now Phelps has only tied Heiden's record for 5 individual gold medals in one olympics, he hasn't surpassed it.
Phelps accomplishment is great, but does it really surpass Heiden's record just because swimmimg has relay events and speed skating doesn't.