Tears of joy: 19th Olympic Games gold for USA swimming legend Michael Phelps
The 31-year-old, the most decorated Olympian of all time, produced a stunning second leg to inspire the United States to victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay
USA swimming legend Michael Phelps extended his record gold medal tally on Sunday, crowning a record-breaking day of drama at the Olympic Games.
Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, produced a stunning second leg to inspire the United States to victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
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The 31-year-old – who has now won 19 gold medals and 23 overall – roared with delight and hugged his teammates after they came home ahead of defending champions France in silver, with Australia third.
Cheered on by fiancee Nicole and toddler Boomer in the stands, the peerless Phelps again provided the spark, producing a blistering 47.12 second leg to overtake France’s Fabien Gilot and set-up victory.
Nathan Adrian anchored the Americans to a time of three minutes 9.92 seconds to end French dominance of the event stretching over the past two world championships and the London Olympics four years ago.
“It was crazy,” said Phelps, competing in his fifth and final Games. “I was standing on the block while Caeleb (Dressel) was coming in and I honestly thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest.
“We wanted that race back so badly,” added Phelps, who hugged teammate Ryan Held on the podium as he sobbed tears of joy.
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) August 8, 2016
“They were making us cry. The younger guys started crying, I started crying. My last 400 free relay ever, it feels damn good to get a win.”
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It was a fairytale moment for Phelps, who came out of retirement for one last crack at the Olympics after battling his personal demons during a stint in rehab.
The American quartet’s display capped a superb night at the Maria Lenk Olympic Aquatics Centre which saw three world records broken.