American Olympics swimmer Michael Phelps broke his own record of being the athlete with most gold medals during the 2016 Rio Olympics with the addition of two more to his already staggering collection.
The 31-year-old swimmer for Team United States earned medal No. 20 and 21 during the fifth day of the 2016 Olympics, particularly in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and 200-meter butterfly events.
By the time Phelps finished both swimming races, he raised his hand in a gesture that signified a “No. 1,” according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) website.
Talking to the IOC, Phelps admitted that his momentous finish could not have been better because one of the games he earned a gold medal from is the one where he experienced an unforgettable defeat.
Apparently, Phelps lost this particular gold medal during the 200-meter butterfly event in the 2012 Olympic Games in London where South African swimmer Chad le Clos emerged victorious. The American swimmer took this defeat personally and vowed to avenge his loss.
“I really wanted that one bad. I told Bob [Bowman] when I came back how bad I wanted that 200 fly, and I came into the pool tonight on a mission,” explained Phelps to the Baltimore Sun.
Even as he admitted his rival’s talent in the water race, the outlet explained that Phelps clearly does not feel that le Clos should be treated as his peer and intends on making the South African swimmer experience what he had back in 2012.
Bob Bowman, who served as Phelps’ long-time coach, said that the ongoing Rio Olympic Games is one of his favorites because of the swimmer’s victory, second only to the American swimmer’s first gold in the Athens Olympics’ 400-meter individual medley.
“The way he raced, everything he had was in there. That was it, right there. He was able to focus under a lot of pressure and get it done,” Bowman stated.
Prior to the race, Phelps was even caught on camera in a stare-down with his South African rival in what appears to be an unguarded moment. His facial expression clearly depicts how badly he wants to win the gold. Unsurprisingly, the social media had a field day on that one.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 9, 2016
Prior to his victories, Phelps told the IOC that he intended to bring everything he got to the Games and leave “every ounce” in the pool, not realizing how close he was to the podium.
“Just being able to see the number one next to my name again, one more time in the 200 fly, I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Phelps’ victory was so memorable that he even took to Instagram to express how much the win meant to him.
A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on Aug 10, 2016 at 7:45am PDT
During the 200-meter butterfly event, Phelps had gained his momentum and took charge of the race as he swam the final 50 meters of the lap. Le Clos missed out on all medals and dropped from first place in London 2012 to fourth place in Rio 2016.
According to official records from the IOC, Phelps’ win on Tuesday earned him his 21st gold medal in addition to two silvers and two bronze ones during the course of his entire Olympic career. His record remains unmatched as other Olympians from all over the world do not even come close to collecting half of what he already has.
[Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images]