Lucky 8 for Michael Phelps

8 has turned out to be the luckiest number of all for Michael Phelps. The Beijing Olympic Games began fortuitously on 08.08.08, and last Saturday  (the eighth day of competition, by the way), the swimming champion accomplished what no other athlete has done before in Olympic history—win 8 gold medals during a single Olympics.

To commemorate this historic event, Sports Illustrated is putting Phelps on its cover in what will surely become an iconic image of the athlete. Phelps poses bare-chested and wearing all eight medals in homage to the 1972 photograph of the previous Olympic medal record holder Mark Spitz with his seven medals draped around his neck. The cover could also turn out to be the magazine’s luckiest yet, since’s chockfull of so many lucky symbols—8 gold coins, against an auspicious vibrant Chinese red background and framed in blue–yet another lucky color.

The issue hits newsstands tomorrow. Let’s see how well it sells!

–Kevin