Michael only a medal away from India’s Olympic tally
Rio de Janeiro : Swimming legend Michael Phelps’ 21st Olympics gold has taken his overall tally in the Summer Olympics to 25 — just short of India’s 26 medal haul since it started participating in the Games in 1900.
Phelps won his 20th gold on Tuesday in the 200 metre butterfly (1:53.36), his favourite event, and then led his team to victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay (7:00.66) for his 21st gold.
The 31-year-old came to Brazil as the most decorated Olympian in history and is adding to his legacy at his final Games — his fifth — after which he will retire.
He quit after the 2012 London Games but came out of retirement to participate in Rio. Of Phelp’s 25 Olympic medals, 21 are gold, two silver and two bronze.
India, with a population of over 1.2 billion, has accumulated 26 medals since its Olympic journey began in 1900. These include eight golds in men’s hockey including six consecutive golds from 1928-1956 and then in 1964 and 1980, and a sole individual gold by shooter Abhinav Bindra in the men’s 10m air rifle in 2008 Beijing Games. There are also six silvers and 11 bronze to India’s name.
Despite his overall dominance, the American had to settle for silver in the 200m butterfly category at the London 2012 Games, where he was pipped by his South African rival Chad le Clos. “This is a race that I really wanted,” Phelps said of his victory at Rio’s Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Tuesday.
“I really wanted that one back. Tonight I came in the pool with a mission and the mission was accomplished. There wasn’t a chance in hell I would lose that tonight and if I did every ounce of energy would have been left in the pool,” he said.
He did leave every ounce of energy in the pool, staving off a storming finish from Japan’s Masato Sakai to win by just four hundredths of a second. “The last 10 meters wasn’t fun. I felt like I was standing still,” Phelps said.
COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
United States 5 7 8 20
China 5 3 5 13
Australia 4 0 4 8
Italy 3 4 2 9
Japan 3 0 8 11
Hungary 3 0 0 3
Russia 2 5 3 10
South Korea 2 2 1 5
France 2 2 0 4
Thailand 2 1 1 4
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