“You come at the king, you best not miss.”
South Africa’s Chad le Clos attempted some of the same pre-race antics that grabbed headlines ahead of his semifinal heat shared with American Michael Phelps in the 200 butterfly, attempting to stare down the Olympic champion and get into his head. As was the case in the semifinal heat the antics didn’t have their desired effect, as Phelps won the 20th Olympic gold medal of his storied career.
Phelps finished the race in 1:53.36, with Japan’s Masato Sakai finishing in 1:53.40 to take silver. Taking the bronze medal was Hungary’s Tamas Kenderesi, who finished the race in 1:53.62.
As for le Clos? At the final turn he was in second place and appeared to be Phelps’ biggest threat during the stretch run. But as le Clos attempted to steal glances at Phelps just one lane over in lane four, he was passed by both Sakai and Kenderesi and failed to medal. Following his win Phelps went with the finger wag that’s become all the rage at the swimming venue this week.
His former USA Swimming teammate Natalie Couglin summed it up even better.
Phelps will look to win a second gold medal on the night, as he’ll be swimming the anchor in the 4×200 freestyle relay. Among Phelps’ (31 years, 41 days old) other accomplishments on the night, he became the oldest swimmer to win an individual gold medal in Olympic history (Netherlands’ Inge de Bruijn was 30 years, 363 days old in 2004), and he’s now the first athlete to win multiple gold medals in four different Olympic games.