Michael Phelps Tears Up After Winning 22nd Career Gold Medal, Beating Pal Ryan Lochte

Living in the moment. Michael Phelps teared up as he stood on the podium at the Rio Olympics on Thursday, August 11, after winning the gold medal for the 200-meter individual medley — the champ’s fourth consecutive win in the same event, and his record-breaking 22nd Olympic career gold.

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It’s the first time an Olympic swimmer has won four consecutive gold medals, and Phelps, who waved four fingers in the air after his win, admitted in an interview afterward that “when the announcer said that, I had a really hard time pulling it together.”

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final on Day 6 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

“It’s obviously a very emotional event for me,” he continued. “It’s very special, being able to win 22 Olympic gold medals. It’s something you just dream of. I’ve said this before, but I’m living a dream come true.”

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Phelps, 31, is now the most decorated gold medalist of all time in individual events, surpassing a record set more than 2,000 years ago by Greek athlete Leonidas of Rhodes in 152 B.C.

The 200-meter individual medley also marked the eagerly anticipated duel in the pool between Phelps and his friend and rival Ryan Lochte. While the pair were neck-and-neck for most of the race, Lochte ended up in fifth place in his last race in Rio.

That’s FOUR in a row for @m_phelps00 in the 200m IM! #?? #TeamUSA

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The 32-year-old shared a photo on Instagram with Phelps before the race that showed them carb-loading on pasta in adjacent whirlpools. “One last time! #USA #longjourney #12 years,” he captioned the pic.

One last time! #USA #longjourney #12years

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Lochte admitted he was disappointed after the race. “I just wish I did a little better,” he said. “I felt great before the race. I guess I just didn’t have it tonight. So kinda bummed, but I gave it my all, so that’s all I can ask for.”

Just 30 minutes after winning the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps was back in the pool, competing in the 100-meter butterfly semifinals. He finished fifth, but will compete in the final on Friday night.

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