Swimmers, gymnasts and track and field stars are among those who have more of an ample opportunity to earn an incredible amount of medals at the Olympics every four years. In some respects it makes sense because they don’t play in organized sports leagues like NBA or WNBA stars. The Olympics are the World Series or Super Bowl for these athletes.
Thursday night, Michael Phelps leaped from a decorated gold medalist swimmer to the greatest Olympian of all-time. Phelps crushed his competition in the 200-meter individual medley, blowing teammate Ryan Lochte right out of the water. He captured his 22nd gold medal of his career and his fourth of these Games.
An even greater accomplishment than that was earning his 13th gold medal at an individual event. The feat breaks a 2,168-year-old Olympic record held by the ancient sprinter Leonidas of Rhodes. Phelps is now greater than the ancient Olympians.
The only thing against Phelps at this point of his career the DUI and bong video against, which now seems as ancient as Leonidas winning a 100-meter dash. At this point, only a doping scandal could bring him back down from cloud nine and it doesn’t seem like that would come out any time soon.
There’s one more event for Phelps to dominate in and that’s the 100-meter butterfly. He could walk away from Rio de Janeiro with five gold medals, an incredible feat in its own right.