Michael Phelps broke the all-time Olympic record for most medals Tuesday with his 19th as the United States crushed the competition to win the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the London Games.
In the relay, USA led from start to finish and Phelps swam the last leg with a huge lead to win his 15th gold medal to go with two silvers and two bronzes to overtake Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympian.
Latynina told Reuters earlier this month she had no doubt Phelps would overtake her in London and ”I can only wish him well”.
Phelps, whose medal collection now consists of 15 golds, two silvers and two bronze medals, won his medals over three Games—2004, 2008 and 2012.
He won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, a record for a single Olympics, surpassing American Mark Spitz’s seven golds won at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Shortly before winning his record 19th medal, Phelps opened his night in the 200 butterfly, his specialty that he had won at the previous two Olympics.
After touching the wall ahead at the 50, 100 and 150 meter marks, Phelps faded in the final 25 meters, gliding to the wall while Chad le Clos of South Africa got in a final stroke.
Le Clos won in 1:52.96, while Phelps took the silver medal in 1:53.01 and Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda was third with a time of 1:53.21.
Phelps had led by .58 going into the final 50 meters, USA Today reports.
Having become the most-decorated Olympian in the history of the games, Phelps hopes to add on to his medal count as he will swim the 200 Individual Medley on Wednesday, the 100 butterfly on Friday and will end his Olympic career in Saturday’s 4×100 medley relay, the valedictory moment of an Olympic career like no other.