Michael Phelps leaving the record books in his wake

Posted Friday, Aug. 03, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

LONDON -- Michael Phelps was flanked by South African Chad le Clos and Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin at the next-to-last medal ceremony of his career after winning his next-to-last medal in his next-to-last race.

Le Clos, 20, grew up idolizing Phelps but never dreamed he would get to race against him, much less beat him, which he did in the 200-meter butterfly earlier this week. Korotyshkin, 29, spent his 12-year career wanting to finish second to Phelps and came close to quitting before achieving his goal Friday.

Le Clos and Korotyshkin tied for the silver and were quite content with finishing .23 of a second behind Phelps (51.21) in the 100 fly.

"As you know, Michael is, for all swimmers, like an idol," Korotyshkin said. "It's hard to compete with him. I'm really happy I'm here, and I was able to catch the medal."

Swimming is going to miss Phelps; swimmers not so much.

Phelps, 27, swam the last individual race of his career Friday. He had no complaints for a change, and though his coach, Bob Bowman, called it a "mediocre" swim, the result was the same as it's been for most of Phelps' career.

If it sounds redundant, that's because it is. It was the 21st medal of Phelps' career, the 17th gold.

"I'm just happy that the last [individual race] was a win," Phelps said. "That's all I really wanted coming into the night. This one was a bigger margin of victory than the last two [Olympics] combined [in the event]. We can smile and be happy."

U.S. coaches couldn't have been happier. American swimmers showed Phelps is leaving the sport in good hands (and feet) as Team USA won three gold medals and two bronze medals in four races Friday.

If not for Phelps nearing the end of his illustrious career, teenagers Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky would have made a heck of a good story.

Franklin, 17, will leave these Olympics as the star of the women's side, having won her second individual event. She now has three gold medals and a bronze with the 4x100 medley relay left today. Franklin won the 200 back in world-record time, 2:04.06, as teammate Elizabeth Beisel took bronze in 2:05.55.

Katie Ledecky, 15, was the surprise winner of the 800 free, nearly setting a world record.

She beat world-record-holder Becky Adlington, who had the home-country crowd on her side. Ledecky, who went 8:14.63, is the second-youngest swimming medalist for Team USA, 77 days older than Beth Botsford was in 1996.

But royalty -- Prince William and Kate Middleton and an NBA contingent that included King James -- came to the Aquatics Centre to watch the real King being crowned yet again.

"I cannot believe Phelps," Serbian Milorad Cavic said after finishing fourth in the 100 fly. "I'm a one-trick pony, and he's the king."

It was the third consecutive Olympics' victory for Phelps in the 100 fly. No male swimmer ever had won the same event three Olympics in a row until Thursday night when Phelps accomplished the feat in the 200 IM.

His fourth-place finish in the 400 IM a week ago was all but forgotten after his back-to-back victories.

"I'm going to miss seeing him rise to the occasion like he did [Thursday night]," Bowman said. "Really, when he needed to do something spectacular, he did. That's what I'll miss the most."

Whether he wins another gold medal tonight in the 4x100 medley relay, Phelps' career is complete. He has changed the sport, which is all he ever wanted to do.

"That's been a goal of mine since I was 15," Phelps said. "If I can say I've done that, and I can say I've done everything I wanted to do in my career, that's all I want.... I'm thankful to do everything that I've done and to have been able to do everything that I've done."

Charean Williams, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @NFLCharean

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Wednesday, October 22Full Scoreboard
San Francisco 10/22 8:07 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game Two. San Francisco leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, October 22Full Scoreboard
Houston 10/22 7:00 PM ET
Orlando TV: CSN-HOU
Brooklyn 10/22 7:30 PM ET
Boston TV: CSN-NE
Washington 10/22 7:30 PM ET
New York TV: MSG
Cleveland 10/22 8:00 PM ET
Memphis TV: ESPN, FSN-OH
Minnesota 10/22 8:00 PM ET
Milwaukee TV: FSN-N, FSN-WIS
Atlanta 10/22 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio 
Portland 10/22 10:00 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: TWC SN, D
Phoenix 10/22 10:30 PM ET
LA Clippers TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, October 22Full Scoreboard
Toronto 10/22 7:00 PM ET
Ottawa TV: TVA Sports, SN
Philadelphia 10/22 8:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: NBCSN, TVA Sports 2
Washington 10/22 9:30 PM ET
Edmonton TV: SN1, CSN-DC, SN360
Buffalo 10/22 10:30 PM ET
Anaheim TV: MSG-BUF, FSN-PT
Full Scoreboard