It's official: Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of ALL TIME!
After winning his 22nd gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley on Thursday, the 31-year-old earned his 13th individual event win — which makes him the athlete with the most individual event wins since 152 B.C.!
The previous record holder for over two millennia was Leonidas of Rhodes, who won 12 individual events over the course of four Olympics — 164 B.C., 160 B.C., 156 B.C. and 152 B.C. — earning his last three golds in the stadion (a 200-meter sprint), the diaulos (a 400-meter run) and the hoplite race (a race in armor).
Video: Phelps Beats Lochte In 200-Meter Individual Medley Semifinal!
Aside from breaking the ancient record, Thursday's 200-meter individual medley win was Phelps' fourth consecutive victory in that category — putting him with track and field Olympians Al Oerter and Carl Lewis as the only Americans to win an individual event four times!
After the race, Phelps took the podium saying his historic win was "exactly how I want to exit the sport," saying while getting choked up:
"I had a hard time holding it together, very special getting able to win 22 gold medals. It's something you dream of, I'm living a dream come true. It's exactly how I want to exit the sport."
While it sounds like the legend may be toweling off for good after Rio, his American teammates/opponents — namely Ryan Lochte — wouldn't be surprised if Phelps dove back in to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Photo: Katie Ledecky Got Phelps' Autograph 10 Years Ago!
Speaking on Friday's TODAY show, Locthe said:
"I guarantee he will be there. I think so. I really think so, so Michael I'll see you in Tokyo."
Even if Phelps doesn't return for Tokyo, he will still compete in the men's 100-meter butterfly finals on Friday — which probably means one more gold medal for good measure…
Ch-ch-check out Phelps' historic win (below)!
[Image via BBC/NBC.]
Tags: al oerter, carl lewis, leonidas of rhodes, michael phelps, olympics, rio olympics, ryan lochte, swimming, zportz