Associated Press - December 2, 2008 10:33 AM ET
NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Phelps is the Sports Illustrated sportsman of the year. During this summer's Olympics in Beijing, China, Phelps broke Mark Spitz's record with eight gold medals and became the winningest Olympian ever with his 14 career victories. Olympians in other sports have earned the award before in its 54-year history, but never a swimmer. In 1972, the year Spitz won his medals, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and tennis great Billie Jean King were honored by the magazine.