By Luis Cabrera
Phelps won the gold today in the 200 Meters individual medley adding the 20th
Olympic medal to his record, a first ever in history. The victory in the 200 Meters IM also makes Phelps the only Olympian who has won the gold in the same event in three consecutive games.
The showdown today with conational Ryan Lochte was highly anticipated, but Phelps led early on in the race and never looked back. Phelps gained distance in the first leg of butterfly style, his specialty, and by final wall touch he finished more than half a second ahead of Lochte.
Phelps is retiring after London and it is now the person with the most Olympic medals ever. The record was previously in the hands of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won 18 medals.
The swimming star from Baltimore has now 16 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals in his Olympic career. Ever competitive, Phelps said after the race he would have enjoyed another world record but was happy with first place. “With 25 meters left I was under world record pace,” he said, “so it’s a little frustrating not to get that, but to win a gold medal is something pretty special.”
This was the second and final head-to-head competition with teammate Ryan Lochte in London, and emotions ran high before the event. Lochte took the gold in their first encounter at the pool, the 400 meter individual medley, an event on which Phelps
finished fourth. “I said to him [Lochte] this is the last 200m of the meet and our last 200m together,” Phelps commented, “Ryan has been one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever swum against.”
President Obama called Phelps on Wednesday to congratulate him on his brilliant performance, after Phelps got his 19th medal. “He just got on and said that everyone issupporting me and everyone is proud of me,” the elite swimmer said, “it was pretty cool.”