Michael Phelps claims 20th and 21st career Olympic gold medals

> Michael Phelps hits 21 in career Olympic gold medals by adding two.

> He's the oldest individual swim champ, 31, and anchors a relay win.
Published August 10 2016
Updated August 10 2016

RIO DE JANEIRO — Good old Michael Phelps, golden again.

Phelps earned his 20th and 21st career Olympic gold medals Tuesday in the Rio pool.

Phelps got off to a rousing start at the Rio Games by leading his 4x100 freestyle team to the gold medal on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Phelps' face bared a familiar scowl before the 200-meter butterfly. He held off Japan's Masato Sakai by four-hundredths of a second, with Hungary's Tamas Kenderesi taking the bronze. Phelps erased the bad memories from his loss in the same race in London to South African Chad le Clos, who was fourth on Tuesday.

At 31, Phelps is the oldest individual gold medalist in Olympic swimming history, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

His 21st gold came when he swam the anchor leg on the 4x200-meter relay.

About an hour after winning gold medal No. 20 in the 200 butterfly, his signature event, Phelps completed his grueling double with a triumphant four laps of the pool.

The result was no longer in doubt by the time Phelps dove in. Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas and former Florida standout Ryan Lochte made sure of that, handing off a commanding lead to the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

Lochte became the second-most decorated male swimmer behind Phelps with his 12th career Olympic medal, surpassing Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi.

Phelps essentially spent the next 100 seconds or so on a victory lap, the crowd's cheers growing louder with each stroke. He touched in 7 minutes, 0.66 seconds, a full body length ahead of Britain's James Guy.

The British earned silver in 7:03.13, while Japan took the bronze in 7:03.50.

When it was done, Phelps simply sat on the starting block, thoroughly exhausted. He motioned at his neck as though he had nothing left to give.

At the other end of the age spectrum, American Katie Ledecky, 19, strode atop the medal podium again with a bright smile after taking gold for winning the 200-meter freestyle. Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden claimed the silver and Emma McKeon of Australia took the bronze.

Ledecky won her second gold of these Games. At this pace, she could challenge Phelps' medal haul someday.

She also might be on her way to an Olympic feat that has only been done one other time.

Ledecky is trying to become only the second woman after Debbie Meyer in 1968 to capture the three longest freestyle events at a single Olympics. Ledecky now has the 200 and 400 titles, and she's an overwhelming favorite to win the 800.

 
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