Melbourne, August 30 : Golden girl Stephanie Rice's former boyfriend Eamon Sullivan has said that Michael Phelps was "lucky" that mistakes by other swimmers helped him beat Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at the one Olympics.
The Australian sprinter's comment follows reports that Phelps was spotted in a steamy liaison with Rice, who won three gold medals in Beijing.
Phelps came from behind to win the 100m butterfly final by 0.01sec over Serbia's Milorad Cavic, and had to rely on a blistering final leg swim by American teammate Jason Lezak to claim gold in the 4x100m freestyle final.
"I think there was an element of luck," the Daily Telegraph quoted Sullivan as saying.
"One hundred flys always come down to finishes, and some would say Cavic's finish was - it was at that point 50-50 whether you take another stroke or you take a glide.
"He (Phelps) made the right decision and I think the other guy made the wrong decision. I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, I'm saying he did everything he could do to win those golds and he came away with it, but at the same time there were little mistakes by others that allowed him to do that," he added.
Sullivan failed to win gold in Beijing, even though he was one of the hot favourites to take out the 50m and 100m freestyle.
He snared silver in the 100m freestyle after setting a new world mark in the semi-final, but finished a disappointing sixth in the 50m freestyle final, a distance he also holds the world record for.
"I guess what else is left to do for him except come down and win races he hasn't won before?" Sullivan said.