Well, we all know of the journey that Michael Phelps will be on in Beijing: to win eight gold medals in a single game. It has never been done before, and it would beat USA swimmer Mark Spitz's record of seven, set back at the 1972 games in Munich. He came up a gold short of tying Spitz in Athens, also grabbing a pair of bronze medals to tie the record for medals at a single games. That said, I will break down every individual race that he must win to achieve his record. Team USA should definately win the 4x100 freestyle, 4X200 freestyle, and the 4x100 medley relays.
400 IM: This will be the first race that he takes part in, an event that he has owned since he took over the world record in Athens. He has broken his own record multiple times in the event, including at the US Olympic Trials in Omaha earlier this summer. He has set the World Record a total of seven times. Most would expect him to take this without any trouble, as he did in Athens. But there is one chief competitor to take him down in this race: fellow American Ryan Lochte. These two are best friends, which has helped to increase there rivalry. This might be the toughest race for him to win. At the trials, Ryan Lochte finished second, but he was also under the previous world record time, and just barely behind Phelps. This race should go down to the wire, but I see Phelps pulling ahead in the end to set yet another world record. Lochte will be in it to the end, but I can't imagine him beating Phelps.
200 IM: Another event that Phelps has owned for a while. He has also set this record a total of seven times, including setting it again at the trials in Omaha. He is also the defending Olympic champion in this event. This is probably going to be the toughest event for him to win. Lochte is also very strong in this event, having almost beaten Phelps at trials. At trials, Lochte actually led until the final lap, when Phelps' superior freestyle swimming gave him the lead. Part of me wants to predict the upset here, but I say Phelps wins this one in a very close race, winning by anywhere from half a second to one tenth of a second.
200 Butterfly: Michael Phelps should have no trouble winning this event. It should be the easiest individual event for him to win. He has set this record six times, and he beat out Ian Crocker back in Athens, and he hasn't been challenged since. Phelps will runaway with this one, and I see this one as a guaranteed gold.
100 Butterfly: This one should be just a little harder for Phelps to win. This is the only individual event that he is racing that he is not the world record holder in. He will be challenged by the current record holder, Ian Crocker. Although Crocker is definately past his prime, he is the greatest of all time in this event. Crocker should at the very least make it an interesting race, if not surprise Phelps. Phelps beat him by a solid amount at trials, but neither seemed to be at the top of his game. The advantage here is that Crocker only races this event, while Phelps might be tired out by his exhausting race schedule. Then again, it didn't hurt him at trials, so I don't expect it to hurt him at the Olympics. While I see him winning this without a ton of trouble, I still don't see any way that Phelps is able to break the world record, and he will likely finish at least two or three tenths of a second off of it.
200 Freestyle: This is the only individual event that Phelps failed to win at the 2004 games in Athens. He came in third in those games, behind Peter Van Hoogenband in second, and the Thorpedo(Ian Thorpe, perhaps the greatest freestyle swimmer of all time) in first. His problem in that race was his kicks at the turns, which he has become the best in the world at. Some expect Van Hoogenband to give Phelps a run for him money, but I really don't see it. Phelps set the world record at the World Championships last season, and he could make a run at his own world record at these Olympics. I expect Peter Van Hoogenband to come in second, but Phelps will pull ahead for good over the final fifty meters.
As you can see, I predict Phelps to win eight gold medals. The relays could fall in the 4x100(the French have a small shot) or 4x200 freestyle(which Australia is almost as good as the US in), but I really don't see that happening. At the least, Phelps should win six golds and two silvers if he doesn't race at his best, but I don't think he can lose if he is on top of his game. No matter what, he should improve on his medal haul from Athens.