RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Michael Phelps waggled four fingers, recognizing another historic achievement.
Now he's the first swimmer to win the same event at four straight Olympics.
Ryan Lochte was left in his wake every time.
In what was billed as the final showdown between two of America's greatest swimmers, Phelps blew away Lochte — and everyone else — to win his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night.
Phelps, who now has 26 medals of all colors, finished a full body length ahead of the field with total dominance on the breaststroke and freestyle legs, finishing in 1 minute, 54.66 seconds.
Lochte didn't even make it to the podium this time, after taking two silvers and a bronze behind Phelps at the previous three Olympics in this event. Leading at the midway point, Lochte faded to fifth. Japan's Kosuke Hagino, who won the 400 IM, took the silver, and China's Wang Shun claimed the bronze.
Phelps also made Olympic history by getting gold in a 14th individual event, breaking a record that Games historians said dated to Leonidas of Rhodes in 152 B.C. He has one more individual event left, the 100 butterfly.
Phelps has one more individual event and will be looking to add a fourth straight gold in the 100 butterfly to his staggering resume. Then he'll close out these Olympics in the 400 medley relay.
Led by Phelps, it was quite a night for the powerful American team, which picked up two other golds when Ryan Murphy completed a sweep of the men's backstroke events in the 200 and Simone Manuel tied 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the top spot in the 100 freestyle, stunning world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. With the win, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win gold in an individual swimming event.
Murphy became the third American man in the last five Olympics to take both backstroke races. Aaron Peirsol pulled off the sweep at Athens in 2004, while Lenny Krayzelburg claimed both golds at the 2000 Sydney Games.
In the women's 200 breaststroke, Rie Kaneto of Japan pulled away from Russia's Yulia Efimova to take gold.