Michael Phelps has come a long way since his younger, pot smoking years.
The American swimming icon’s performance might have been less than impressive to start, but that streak didn’t last too long. Today, he took home his 19th career Olympic medal, more than any one athelete has ever won.
Number 19 came during the 800-meter freestyle relay. Phelps was anchoring for Team USA and helped secure a gold medal for the event. Out of the 19, it is Phelp’s 15th gold medal.
Competing alongside Phelps in the relay were teammates Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, and Ricky Berens. Their effort crushed the competition, finishing them over three seconds (aka three years in Olympian time) in front of second place France.
After taking a moment to spit water into the air, Phelps rested on the lane rope. He shook hands with his competitors and then got out of the pool. Team USA huddled with Phelps as he thanked them for the moment.
The former holder of the “most decorated” spot was Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina.
Phelp’s medal is some of the first good news that he’s experienced so far at the London Games. Just about a half hour earlier, he placed a disappointing second place in the 200-meter butterfly, a shoe in for Phelps.
The swimmer started the race strong, with a strong lead in the first 100. However, South Africa’s Chad Le Clos managed to catch up and snake by him in the final split second, touching out just .05 seconds ahead of Phelps. The miss denied Phelps his third straight gold medal in the event.
As you can imagine, Michael was not happy. The news came after another disappointing finish in the 400-meter IM, missing a medal completely with a fourth place conclusion.
But, Phelps shook the sadness off and managed to come out strong enough for his team and for history in the relay. Once again, you are the man, sir.