Unstoppable: Michael Phelps takes Olympic Games gold medal tally to 21 with Rio de Janeiro double
The American added to his staggering title tally by first winning the 200 metres butterfly final before anchoring the US to victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay just over an hour later
Michael Phelps bagged the 20th and 21st gold medals of his incredible Olympic Games career on Tuesday after winning the 200 metres butterfly final before anchoring the US to victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay just over an hour later.
The American, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, first added to his staggering title tally by overpowering fierce rival Chad le Clos from South Africa in the 200m Rio final, clocking one minute 53.36 seconds.
Phelps then led the US home for a win in 7:0.66 in the relay after Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas and Ryan Lochte had built-up a huge lead after the first three legs. It was a fourth straight Olympic 4x200m free gold for the US men.
“That event is kind of like my bread and butter,” Phelps said. “That was the last time I’ll ever swim it. Having that come to an end, it’s weird, it’s crazy to think about.
“There wasn’t a shot in hell I was losing that race,” he added. “And if I did I was leaving everything in the pool.”
In the 200m final, defending champion Le Clos faded badly in the final 50m and finished out of the medals as Japan’s Masato Sakai came through for a surprise silver in 1:53.40 with Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi taking bronze in 1:53.62.
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“I don’t want him [le Clos] to win and I’m sure he doesn’t want me to win,” said Phelps. “He is a very good racer and he puts it on the line. I knew where he was all the time. The last 10 metres were not fun, oh my gosh.”
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World record-holder Phelps, who won the title in 2004 and 2008, celebrated by pointing to the ceiling and pumping his fists, gesturing to the crowd to “bring the noise” after becoming the oldest individual gold medallist in Olympic swimming history at 31.
Competing in his fifth and final Olympics, victory was twice as sweet for Phelps after clashing with Le Clos in the media since losing to the South African in an epic tussle in London.
In the relay, Britain’s quartet of Stephen Milne, Duncan Scott, Dan Wallace and 200m freestyle world champion James Guy took silver in 7:03.13.
Bronze went to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, Naito Ehara, Yuki Kabori and Takeshi Matsuda in 7:03.50.