(Michael Phelps, second from left, and American teammates Conor Dwyre, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens pose for photos with their gold medals after winning the 800-meter freestyle relay on Tuesday in London. (Daniel Ochoa De Olza / Associated Press / July 31, 2012)
By Lisa DillmanJuly 31, 2012, 1:35 p.m.
History unfolded in 6 minutes and 59.70 seconds.
With a little help from three of his friends, Michael Phelps became the greatest Olympian of them all, winning his 19th career medal, breaking the standard set by legendary Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina.
No. 19 came in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay and the color was gold. Phelps had the responsibility of swimming the anchor leg and the outcome was virtually assured as he had a 3.8-second lead when he hit the water.
The United States finished first by almost that same margin. France took the silver and China the bronze.
Incredibly, Phelps has 15 gold medals, two silver and two bronze in his legendary Olympic career, which started in 2000.
One of the silver medals came earlier on Tuesday night at the Aquatics Centre when Phelps was edged in the 200 butterfly.
He praised the winner Chad le Clos of South Africa and then paid tribute to his relay teammates.
“The 200 fly didn’t go the way I wanted,” Phelps said. “I was on the other end of that finish four years ago.”
So I was totally and completely jazzed to have Michael Phelps win the gold in the 800 meter relay. Totally and completely psyched. I remember him winning in ’04 and ’08. I’m super happy and excited he swims for the USA. And I’m thrilled beyond belief that he’s gotten all those medals.
USA is the greatest country in the world. Yeah, I’m biased. I live here.
- Phelps wins record Olympic medal (bbc.co.uk)
- Michael Phelps Wins Record 19th Olympic Medal (complex.com)
- Michael Phelps Makes History with 19th Olympic Medal! (justjared.com)
- Phelps Takes Record 19th Olympic Medal (abcnews.go.com)
- Phelps finishes second again for 18th career medal (nypost.com)