Is he the greatest swimmer of this time? Looks like it as Michael Phelps defended his title in the 100-meter butterfly at the London Olympics on Friday night, running his career total to 17 golds and 21 medals over all.
Phelps edged his young South African rival Chad Le Clos, finishing in 51.21 seconds to Le Clos’s 51.44. Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin was third.
The 100 fly was the only event in which Phelps did not set a world record when he won an unprecedented eight golds at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, but on Thursday night he had made it clear how important it was for him to go out a winner. And that was what he did.
Phelps emerged from the pool like a prize fighter, arms over his heads, as applause rained down from a crowd that included Prince William and his wife, Catherine. He then put his arm around Le Clos, the man he has seemingly tapped as his successor as an all-around threat, and they joked as they walked away from the pool.
The race covered 200 meters, but it was over after 50.