If Michael Phelps had a song that played whenever he entered a room, it should be "All I Do Is Win." The guy was a living legend in his sport before the London Games and his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly only adds to that legend.
In classic Phelps style, the decorated swimmer was humble about the victory when speaking with Erik Brady of USA Today, saying:
I'm just happy that the last one was a win. That's all I really wanted coming into the night...So we can smile and be happy. And, yeah, I don't know, it was fun.
When you consider the fact Phelps has the most Olympic hardware out of anyone that has ever lived though, it's hard to think anyone thought Phelps wouldn't go out with another victory.
He came into London off an unprecedented performance in Beijing that won him eight gold medals and the Sports Illustrated 2008 Sportsman of the Year Award. While he won't be bringing home that many medals this time around, he's further planted himself in the history books and the conversation for best swimmer in history.
If you're basing the "Who is the best?" argument on medal count, then nobody can answer with any name except Phelps. One would also be hard-pressed to make an argument against him based on any other measurement of talent.
Phelps has become an American sports hero thanks to his past three Olympic performances, grabbing endorsement deals with companies like Subway and furthering the exposure of his sport to casual fans.
His impact on the sport goes beyond statistics and record books. As John McPoland of the Janesville Gazette wrote back in 2008 after Phelps' Beijing Games, his popularity and success has made young athletes try their hand in swimming.
Phelps' career is officially the most decorated in Olympics history and his impact on his sport is one that will stand the test of time. Whenever the history of professional swimming or the Summer Games is mentioned, Phelps' name will be brought up.