Michael Phelps Eclipses Overall Medal Count Record
2012 London Summer Olympics
The United States' Michael Phelps took another giant leap in the pool, becoming the most successful Olympian in history when the American team cornered the 4x200m freestyle relay gold at the Aquatics Center.
The win gave Phelps his 19th medal, one more than Soviet gymnast, Larisa Latynina, who had a record of 18 Olympic medals.
Even as Latynina -- who last competed at the 1964 Games -- clapped from the spectators' gallery, there was jubilation in the American camp, waiting impatiently for this moment to arrive.
A beaming Phelps was quoted as telling the media:
"I'd put my mind on doing something that nobody had ever done before. And there was nothing that was going to stand in my way of being the first Michael Phelps. That's what I said all along, and this has been an amazing ride."
His record haul now includes 15 gold, two silver and an equal number of bronze.
The Olympic journey of this supremely gifted hyperactive kid started at the 2000 Sydney Games, but it was in Athens (2004) where he showed his remarkable prowess -- winning six gold and two bronze.
Not satisfied, he targeted American legend Mark Spitz' ultimate record of seven gold at one Games and achieved the unthinkable by bagging a record haul of eight gold at Beijing four years later.
After South Africa's Chad le Clos denied Phelps a grand treble in 200m butterfly, pushing the American to silver (18th medal), the superstar returned less than an hour later, teaming up with Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens to secure gold ahead of France and China.
Phelps provided a glimpse into his determination when he told the media that, "I put my mind on doing something no-one has ever done before and nothing was going to stand in my way."
Knowing well that France's Yannick Agnel could spoil the American party again -- as he had done on two previous occasions -- Lochte, Dwyer and Berens provided Phelps with an unsurmountable lead to beat the Frenchman in the anchor run.
Phelps still has two more opportunities to swell his medals tally and set the bar even higher before his pulls curtains on his swimming career after the London Games.
Even as the world appreciated the superhuman effort, London Games chief and legendary athlete, Sebastian Coe, struck a discordant note, saying Phelps was "probably not" the greatest.
Coe was quoted by leading newspapers as saying that, "I think you can clearly say that by the medal tally he is the most successful. My personal view is that I'm not sure he's the greatest. But he's certainly the most successful." said Coe.
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