BEIJING -- Who is the last man at the Water Cube who can stop Michael Phelps in an individual event?
Before the Games, conventional wisdom would have said Ian Crocker of Austin, Texas, had the best chance to beat Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday (tonight in the U.S.).
But now that the final is upon us, Serbia's Milorad Cavic has emerged as the No. 1 challenger. In beating Phelps in Thursday's semifinal, he set an Olympic record of 50.76 seconds. It doesn't necessarily mean much that he won the heat. Phelps was conserving injury, while Cavic has a history of burning himself out in prelims.
But he is someone to watch.
And to listen to.
He said Thursday that swimming would be better served if Phelps were to lose, presumably to him.
That's a little Serbian smack, learned no doubt on the playgrounds of Tustin. Cavic, 24, was born in Anaheim, raised in Tustin and swam for the Novaquatics and then for Cal.