The rivalry between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte crumbled long before the end of what could be their final meeting.
Phelps blew away Lochte and the rest of the field Thursday in the final of the men’s 200m individual medley at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The showdown between the veteran swimming legends was perhaps the most highly anticipate swimming race in Rio, but Phelps made a mockery of the pre-race drama by winning by almost two full seconds.
In doing so, Phelps claimed his record 22nd gold medal and 26th Olympic medal overall. He now has won four gold medals in Rio.
Phelps claimed the gold medal in the 200m IM for the fourth consecutive Olympics, becoming the only swimmer in history to mount such a streak in the same event.
He and Lochte have won the prestigious event at every Olympics and World Championships since 2003. Lochte has won it at every World Championship since 2009. The race was billed as a clash of swimming titans, but only Phelps lived up to the marquee.
He finished the race in 1:54.66. Japan’s Hagino Kosuke (1:56.61) and China’s Wang Shun (1:57.05) finished second and third, respectively.
Lochte failed to medal, finishing a dissapointing fifth in 1:57.47.
Thumbnail photo via Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports Images