WASHINGTON – President Bush called U.S. Olympic champion Michael Phelps on Sunday morning to offer the nation's congratulations to the record-breaking Olympian.
Phelps earned eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing, eclipsing Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at the 1972 Munich Games. That's 14 gold medals total in Phelps' career, five more than any Olympian ever.
Bush called the 23-year-old Baltimore, Md., resident hours after his final relay race with three teammates, National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
Johndroe said Bush told Phelps: "Laura and I are proud of you. Our family is proud of you, but most importantly, America is proud of you. We're excited for you. You handled yourself with humility."
"Give your mom a big hug for me," he said, noting that Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, "were honored to get a picture with her" when they met after Phelps' first victory in the 400-meter individual medley.
"If you can handle eight gold medals, you can handle anything," Bush told Phelps, according to Johndroe.