AP Athlete Of The Year Is Michael Phelps

The AP Male Athlete of the Year is Michael Phelps.

The retired Olympic swimmer was announced as the winner of the award on Thursday. Phelps, who in 2012 became the most decorated Olympian ever, narrowly beat NBA star LeBron James in voting.

That also means Phelps has won the AP Athlete of the Year award twice after his victory in 2008. The only other Olympian to be recognized twice was Carl Lewis, who won the award in 1983 and 1984 for track and field. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Jordan remain the only men to be honored more than twice.

Phelps ended up with 40 votes in the media balloting, narrowly ahead of Miami Heat’s James with 37. Sprinter and treble Olympic champion Usain Bolt came third with 23 votes.

This year at the London Olympic Games, Phelps won four gold medals and two silvers to set a new record of winning 22 Olympic medals throughout his career. The 27-year-old is now retired from swimming.

Talking to the New York Daily News, Phelps reflected on his new title as Athlete of the Year:

“Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment. There’s so many amazing male athletes all over the world and all over our country. To be able to win this is something that just sort of tops off my career.”

You can watch an ABC report about Athlete of the Year Michael Phelps winning his historic 19th Olympic medal below: