The win by Michael Phelps in the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay wasn’t just a coronation, but also a dethroning. Phelps secured the medal he needed to become the most decorated Olympian of all time as he took his career tally to 19 game medals, beating the 48-year-old record of 18 held by former Soviet gymnast, Larisa Latynina. It was a moment of awe and excitement for Phelps, the U.S. swim team, and Americans everywhere. Phelps went on to earn more medals, finalizing his career at 22 medals in three Olympiads. He also holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals (18, double the second highest record holders), Olympic gold medals in individual events (11), and Olympic medals in individual events for a male. In winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps also took the record from fellow American swimmer, Mark Spitz for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.

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