New wave surfaces as Phelps signs off
By Julian Linden
LONDON (Reuters) - He did not set any world records and won only half as many gold medals as he did in Beijing four years ago but Michael Phelps still stole the show in the swimming events at the London Olympics.
After winning eight gold medals in Beijing, London was always going to be a lap of honor for the American who said he would retire after the Games, but it proved to be a coronation worthy of a king.
Phelps was not as dominant as he was four years ago but through adversity he provided an everlasting reminder of why he is the greatest swimmer of all time.
After a slow start to the meet where he was beaten in his first two individual events, he finished strongly, winning gold medals in his last four events, setting records that may never be beaten.
He won six medals in London, four gold and two silvers, more than any other athlete in any sport at the Games. When he won his third, he passed Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's long-standing record of 18 career medals.
When he completed his final race, Phelps signed off with 22 medals, including 18 golds. No-one else, in any sport, has won more than nine.
"I always said nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and work hard," he said.
"I couldn't ask to finish on a better note. I have done everything I wanted to do. I am very happy." Continued...