Olympics 2012: Michael Phelps Breaks Record for Biggest Games Medal Winner Ever

By: Rachel Levy / July 31, 2012

Michael Phelps has become the most decorated Olympic athlete ever.

After reeling in the silver medal for the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps claimed his gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay on Tuesday — earning him a total of 19 medals within his four Olympics.

What did Phelps accomplish in London?

The 27-year-old was the first to crush the 1964 record set by Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina — who earned a total of 18 medals.

However, he may not have been able to do this challenge without the help of his teammates — Ryan Lochte gave the US a .98-second lead after Conor Dwyer advanced it to 2.13 seconds, and Ricky Berens completed the third leg with a grand 3.88-second lead.

With this superior advantage, Phelps knew exactly what to do and power-housed his way into victory in a little over six minutes.

The excellent athlete matched the record a little earlier in the day during his race against South Africa’s Chad le Clos.

Phelps just missed adding some more gold to his collection with the pair neck and neck for the whole race but the South African Olympian ended up surpassing him by .05 seconds — turning Phelps’ gold medal into silver.

Phelps’ massive metal haul now consists of 15 golds, two silvers, and two bronze.  Not too shabby of a collection.

Do you think Phelps is the greatest athlete of all time?

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