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No one could ever doubt that Michael Phelps is a legend. But with his new gold in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay, he has became the most decorated Olympian of all times. It is the 19th time that he has been awarded with a medal and the 15th that it is gold.
With this new medal he has broken Soviet Larisa Layynina’s record, who won 18 medals between the 1956 and 1964 Olympics under the gymnastics category.
This has been the first gold for Phelps on the London Olympics, but he still could win three more (the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly and the 4×100 medley relay,) and make the record even bigger.
He started to become a legend in Athens 2004 after having debuted when he was only 15 in Sydney. The Baltimore swimmer won six gold medals (100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley, 4×200 free, and 4×100 medley) and two bronze (200 free and 4×100 free) in Greece before facing the greatest challenge of swimming history: overcoming the seven gold medals record from Mark Spitz.
In the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps became the greatest swimmer in the world to win eight gold medals in an Olympic game. (400 styles, 4×100 free, 200 free, 200 butterfly, 4×200 free, 200m medley, 100 butterfly and 4×100 styles.)
Having achieved the feat, Phelps faced the London Games with less demand but with a final record to beat: that of the 18 Olympic medals from the gymnast Larissa Latynina. He failed in the 400 individual medley and placed fourth in the final, had to settle for silver in the 4×100 free after France and could not overcome South Africa’s Le Clos in the 200 butterfly.
But it was just a matter of time before Phelps won his nineteenth medal. This one came in the 4×200 free category; making Phelps the best swimmer of all time in the history of the Olympics.
Phelps’ ambition seems to not have an end, as he is already thinking about making the record even bigger: “It has been a pretty amazing career but we still have a couple races to go,” he said.
Larisa Layynina, who held the record before Phelp’s achievement was happy for the swimmer’s victory: “I saw his swim, and I saw my record swim away,” Latynina told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “He’s very talented — no doubt about that.”
Image Courtesy of jdlasica