Phelps' last swim of historic, unprecedented career ends in gold
August 4, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
It was the last swim of Michael Phelps' career.
How do you think it ended?
Exactly. Gold again. His 18th. And the 22nd medal of his career, both benchmarks that could and should stand for decades. Phelps' 18 golds are twice as many as any other Olympic athlete ever -- or at least in the modern, recorded era (since 1896).
The United States' 4x100 men's medley relay team touched the wall in the final swimming event of the 2012 Olympics in 3:29.35, beating out silver medalists Japan, who swam their medley in 3:31.26. Australia took the bronze with a 3:31.58 finishing time.
The world record of 3:27.28, set by the United States in 2009, was not sniffed, but that's hardly important. What matters here is the final, dominant statement not only of Phelps' career, but also of the United States' desecration of the field at swim events in this Olympiad. The United States won 30 medals in the pool at these Games -- 20 more than second-best China, which had 10. The gold total? Sixteen to five in favor of the U.S.
As for the race, Matt Grevers gave the U.S. the first leg of this medley relay, swimming his backstroke in 53.04, a leading .34-second advantage on France and .82 one on Japan.
Brendan Hansen (breaststroke), gave up the lead, however, and halfway through the race it was the Japanese with a .21-second lead on the United States. A surprise, to be certain. So it was on Phelps to make up the ground. In his final Olympic swim, he was brilliant again. At the turn, 50 meters to finish in the relay's third leg and his final one, he was .26 behind Japan.