Phelps has etched his place in the history books as a member of the U.S. team who captured gold in the 4x200-meter freestyle at the Aquatics Centre, as Sky Sports confirmed:
Michael Phelps anchors USA to victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay to claim his record 19th Olympic medal. bit.ly/OA4TbC—Sky Sports Olympics (@SkyOlympics) July 31, 2012
Swimming as the anchor, Phelps looked like his old self, with powerfully long strokes that jetted him down his lane. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports witnessed the event, and reports Phelps had the best time of the team:
Phelps easily fastest American split on the relay. 1:44.05. Finished that one like a champion.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) July 31, 2012
While plenty of credit needs to be given to his three teammates (Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Conor Dwyer), the story is Phelps, who has now entered the next level of Olympic greatness.
Phelps has broken the record for most medals all-time at the Olympics with 19, surpassing Soviet-era gymnast Larisa Latynina, who had held the record for the last 48 years.
He has now added to his all-time record with gold medal No. 15, in just another reminder of how incredible Phelps has been since the 2004 Games in Athens.
The triumph comes roughly an hour after Phelps finished a disappointing second in the 200-meter butterfly. After leading for virtually the entire race, 20-year-old Chad le Clos of South Africa slapped the wall 0.05 seconds before Phelps in a major upset.
While earning a silver medal is nothing to sneeze at, it was the first time Phelps had lost the event in Olympic or World Championship competition since way back in 2003 (via Yahoo! Sports’ Summer Sanders).
It’s been a roller-coaster ride of emotions for the 27-year-old. After failing to medal in the debacle that was the 400-meter individual medley, he has seemed to regain his form of 2008.
While the 2012 London Olympics haven’t gone as planned, he has still been able to solidify himself in the history books as one of, if not the greatest Olympian of all time.