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With 8 gold, Phelps passes Spitz record

Mellouli sprinted clear with 300m remaining and held off the Australian great’s spirited finish.

Hackett, the winner of the event in Sydney and Athens and bidding to become the first male swimmer to win three Olympic titles in the same event, took the silver in 14:41.53, only 0.49secs behind.

Canadian Ryan Cochrane, who led up to the 1000m, finished third in 14:42.69.

Mellouli, 24, has only recently served out an 18-month doping ban after becoming Tunisia’s first swimming world champion with a come-from-behind win in the 800m freestyle at last year’s world championships in Melbourne.

Mellouli was subsequently stripped of the gold medal after testing positive for amphetamines and completed his ban in May in time to swim at the Olympics.

“It’s the redemption I wanted, and I got it,” Mellouli said.

Germany’s Britta Steffen won the women’s 50m freestyle, edging U.S. veteran Dara Torres to complete a sprint double.

Steffen, who out-gunned world record-holder Libby Trickett to win the 100m freestyle gold, clocked 24.06sec and edged the 41-year-old Torres by just one one-hundredth of a second.

“In the first 20m I noticed Dara Torres beside me,” Steffen said. “My coach told me the last 10 meters would decide the results.”

Torres, whose silver in the 4x100m free relay in Beijing had already made her the oldest Olympic swimming medalist, added another silver by the narrowest of margins, posting an American record of 24.07.

“I’m thinking I shouldn’t have filed my nails last night,” Torres quipped.

Behind her, 16-year-old Cate Campbell of Australia — born the year Torres competed in her third Olympic Games in 1992 — took the bronze in 24.17.

Trickett returned to anchor Australia to a world record-breaking victory in the women’s 4x100m medley relay.

The Australian quartet of Emily Seebohm, Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper and Trickett clocked 3:52.69 to hold off a U.S. team of Natalie Coughlin, Rebecca Soni, Christine Magnusson and Torres, who claimed the silver in 3:53.30.

With her 12th Olympic medal — 24 years after her first — Torres joined Jenny Thompson as the most decorated U.S. Olympic swimmers.

China’s Zhao Jing, Sun Ye, Zhou Yafei and Pang Jiaying captured bronze in 3:56.11.

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 With 8 gold, Phelps passes Spitz record 
Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia celebrates after winning the men’s 1500m freestyle swimming final, Aug. 17. (AP)

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