LONDON — Michael Phelps, showing no signs of complacency after breaking every imaginable record in Olympic swimming, won the men's 100 metres butterfly gold medal at the London Games yesterday. On the eve of his retirement, Phelps provided an unforgettable reminder of his incredible talent and determination when he came from seventh at the turn to overpower his rivals and win in a time of 51.21 seconds. South Africa's Chad le Clos, who beat Phelps in the 200 butterfly final, dead-heated for second with Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin but neither man could hold Phelps off once he started to roll his giant shoulders and kick his powerful feet.
By winning, he joined his American team-mate Missy Franklin as the only triple gold medallists in London after she broke the world record in the 200 backstroke final a few minutes earlier and took his career tally to 21 medals, including 17 gold. He still has one more event to go before he hangs up his goggles, the 4x100 medley relay, an event the US men have never lost at an Olympics they have attended. Katie Ledecky of the United States won the gold in the women's 800m freestyle.
The 15-year-old touched home in 8min 14.63sec ahead of Mireia Belmonte Garcia (8:18.76) of Spain in silver and Rebecca Adlington (8:20.32) of Great Britain with bronze. Ledecky's time was the second-fastest of all-time behind Adlington's world record. Also yesterday, France's Florent Manaudou won the men's 50 metres freestyle gold medal. Cullen Jones of the United States took silver while Brazil's Cesar Cielo clinched bronze.
Late on Thursday, Michael Phelps became the first male swimmer to win the same event at three successive Olympics when he clinched the men's 200 metres individual medley gold medal. Phelps, who won the event at the Athens and Beijing Games, relegated compatriot and world champion Ryan Lochte to silver while Hungary's Laszlo Cseh took bronze. Phelps led all the way and got his giant hands on the wall first in a time of one minute, 54.27 seconds, just outside Lochte's world record of 1:54.00 that he set last year in the final at the Shanghai world championships.
Lochte, close to exhaustion after winning bronze in the 200 backstroke half an hour before the medley, held on to finish second, just 0.63 behind his team-mate. Cseh clocked 1:56.22 for the bronze. Phelps had joined forces with Lochte on Tuesday to win gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay and claim a record 19th Olympic medal and the 200 individual medley victory on Thursday gave the 27-year-old his 16th Olympic gold medal and 20th overall. — Reuters