Michael Phelps’s Olympic career ended yesterday with an 18th gold medal as Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defended her 100-meter title and Britain won three track and field events.
Phelps was part of the victorious U.S. team in the 400-meter relay, the final swimming event of the London Games. In addition to extending his record gold tally, the 27-year-old finishes as the most decorated Olympic athlete with 22 medals.
“I’ve been able to do all the things I wanted to accomplish,” Phelps, who’s said he plans to retire after his fourth Olympics, told reporters. “I’ve done things no one else has ever done and that’s what I wanted to do.”
In track and field, Fraser-Pryce held off a late challenge from world champion Carmelita Jeter to become the first woman to defend the 100-meter title since American Gail Devers in 1996. Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford also won in track and field as Britain captured six golds on the day.
The U.S. leads the medal standings with 26 golds and 54 in total. China is second with 25 golds among its 53 medals, with Britain climbing to third with 14 gold medals and 29 in total.
“What a night for British athletics, three golds out of a possible three,” said Rutherford, 25.
Medals will be awarded in 23 Olympic events today, including the men’s 100 meters featuring defending champion and world record holder Usain Bolt. Roger Federer also plays Britain’s Andy Murray in men’s tennis, a rematch of the Wimbledon final the Swiss player won last month.
Phelps teamed with Matthew Grevers, Brendan Hansen and Nathan Adrian as the U.S. ended with 16 golds and 30 total medals in swimming. The Americans also set a world record in winning the women’s 400-meter relay, giving 17-year-old Missy Franklin her fourth gold medal.
Fraser-Pryce, 25, led from the start in the 100, holding off Jeter to win in 10.75 seconds. Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown took the bronze.
Ennis clinched the heptathlon title by winning the last of seven events, the 800 meters, before a sold-out crowd at the Olympic Stadium. She finished with 6,955 points, 327 more than silver medalist Tatyana Chernova of Russia.
“I am so shocked,” said Ennis, 26. “I’m going to savor the moment. The crowd helped me. I can’t believe I’ve done it.”
Rutherford became the first British Olympic long jump champ since Lynn Davies in 1964 with a leap of 8.31 meters (27.3 feet). Farah, 29, then capped the British night by beating his training partner Galen Rupp of the U.S. by half a second in the 10,000 meters.
Britain also broke the world record in winning the women’s cycling team pursuit and earned two golds in rowing.
China won five gold medals yesterday, led by swimmer Sun Yang’s world record in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle.
Wimbledon champion Serena Williams defeated Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to add the women’s singles gold medal to her 14 tennis Grand Slam titles. Mike and Bob Bryan then gave the U.S. a second tennis gold by winning the men’s doubles.
“I didn’t think it could have been better than winning Wimbledon, but you can see how happy I am,” Williams, 30, said. “I’ve won everything.”
Bolt, world champion Yohan Blake and American Tyson Gay won their heats yesterday to advance to today’s 100-meter semifinals. The final will also be run tonight.
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete in a games, reaching the semifinals of the 400 meters. The 25-year-old, who uses J-shaped carbon-fiber blades, ran 45.44 seconds to qualify in 16th place.