Michael Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley to extend his record for the most medals won by an Olympic athlete to 20.
Phelps won in 1 minute, 54.27 seconds at the Aquatics Centre in London. His U.S. teammate Ryan Lochte was second in 1:54.90, with Laszlo Cseh of Hungary third in 1:56.22.
It was the final matchup between the 27-year-old friends. Lochte dethroned Phelps as the 400-meter individual medley champion on the opening day in the pool on July 28. Phelps finished fourth in that race, the first time he walked away from an Olympic final without a medal since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.
“I said to him when we were in the ready room that this was our last 200 of the meet, and the last 200 together,” Phelps told reporters. “We were just kind of joking around kind of laughing about it. Ryan’s probably been one of toughest competitors I’ve ever swum against, all-round competitors.”
Lochte said the silver medal was “not the color I wanted” and that he was finished swimming in London, taking himself out of contention for the U.S. 400-meter medley relay team Aug. 4.
“I’m done,” he said. “It’s my birthday tomorrow and for the first time in years I don’t have to swim.”
Phelps now has 16 career gold medals, also a record. He is retiring after the London Games.
Five minutes after receiving his latest gold medal in the 200 medley awards ceremony, Phelps won his semifinal in the 100-meter butterfly. The final in that event tomorrow will be Phelps’ last individual Olympic race.
Lochte finished third in the 200-meter backstroke about 30 minutes before the medley final today. Tyler Clary, 23, of the U.S. won the gold medal in an Olympic-record 1:53.41, with Ryosuke Irie, 22, of Japan second. Lochte led that race for the first 150 meters.
On July 31, Phelps broke the mark of 18 total medals set by former Soviet Union gymnast Larissa Latynina when he first took silver in the 200-meter butterfly behind South African Chad Le Clos, and then gold in the 800-meter freestyle relay with the U.S. team. This is the fourth Olympics for Phelps.
Lochte had been the 1-3 favorite at U.K. bookmaker William Hill Plc to win the 200-meter medley after he set the fastest time in the semifinals. Phelps had been the second favorite at 5-2, meaning a $2 bet would return $5 and the original wager.
Phelps and Lochte took turns winning the event in recent years. Phelps won in Athens and Beijing, while Lochte set a world record at last year’s world championships in Shanghai in 1:54:00. At the U.S. trials in June, Phelps narrowly beat Lochte.
Rebecca Soni, 25, of the U.S. won the women’s 200-meter breaststroke gold medal in a world-record time today.
Soni finished in 2:19:59, ahead of Japan’s Satomi Suzuki in second place and Russia’s Iuliia Efimova in third. Soni had set the world record of 2:20.00 yesterday.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the women’s 100-meter freestyle, supported by hundreds of orange-clad Dutch fans in the stands. It was the second gold medal for the Dutch team after Marianne Vos won the cycling road race at the weekend.
Kromowidjojo, who had been in fourth place after the first leg, won in an Olympic-record 53 seconds, taking 0.05 second off her own mark set yesterday. Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus finished second, while Yi Tang of China claimed bronze.