Mixed night for Phelps in London
American swimmer Michael Phelps has become the greatest Olympian of all time by adding both silver and gold medals to his tally in a dramatic night at the Olympic Aquatic Centre.
Phelps, who has endured a frustrating meet in London thus far, looked like he would turn it around with a strong swim in the 200m Butterfly final.
However, he was unable to maintain his pace over the final 10m before eventually touching the wall just 0.5 sec behind 20-year-old South African swimmer Chad Le Clos who swam a time of 1:52.96.
It looked like another gold medal performance for Phelps before finishing over-extended as he tried to glide to the finish.
Le Clos finished strongly, edging out the American to shock the world, himself and Phelps.
Phelps reacted angrily by throwing his cap off and down the lane.
Great scenes of celebration from the South African were followed, as he was stunned at beating his “hero”.
Le Clos reacted by saying: “I just wanted to race in the final – and I won. I can’t believe it.”
Phelps was very gracious in defeat and pointed out that he was on the opposite end in Beijing when he touched 1/100 of a second ahead in the 100m Butterfly.
Both Michael Phelps and Le Clos had to go back in the pool an hour later for the final of the men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle relay.
Team USA dominated early with another strong swim by Ryan Lochte before Phelps anchored the team home easily for the gold medal in a time of 6:59.70.
The relay win gave the 27-year-old Phelps an unmatched 19 medals spanning over four contested Olympic Games (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and now London 2012).
Phelps overtook former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina’s haul from 1956-1964. Latynina was believed to be “delighted” that Phelps overtook her record.
Although the evening started frustratingly for Phelps, he was clearly ecstatic to have both helped his team win gold and get the monkey off his back to claim his first gold medal at the meet.
Phelps will retire at the end of the games but still has a chance to add to his medal tally in both the 200m IM and the 100m Butterfly in the coming days.
Oliver Neave, olympics correspondent