Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian ever, just added another gold to his impressive resume. In a much anticipated 200m Individual Medley final showdown with Ryan Lochte at the Aquatics Centre, Phelps came out on top, with Lochte grabbing silver and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh taking bronze.
For Phelps, this was his first individual gold medal of the London Games and a measure of revenge against Lochte who had taken the 400m IM title last Saturday. With the win, Phelps becomes the first swimmer to win an individual event in three straight Olympics.
Leading the race wire-to-wire, Phelps looked like he would challenge the world record early on. Though he fell behind that pace, he still out-touched Lochte who had spent most of the race in third place before surging in the last leg, freestyle, to grab the silver away from Cseh.
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About a half hour before the 200m IM, Lochte swam the final of the 200m backstroke and came in a disappointing third, while American Tyler Clary set an Olympic record and took gold. Lochte held the lead for much of the race, but faded on the last leg.
During the morning session, Phelps swam in the 100m Butterfly heats, renewing his rivalry with Serbian Milorad Cavic, who he narrowly beat in 2008 to keep his run of eight gold medals alive. Phelps got the best of Cavic in their heat, then went on to win his semifinal heat about 30 minutes after the 200m IM final.
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If Phelps retires after these games, this will have been his last head-to-head swim against his rival Lochte. Phelps has the final of the 100m Butterfly tomorrow night and he has the 4x100 medley relay on Saturday.