Rio Olympics: Phelps makes history, wins 22nd Olympic gold

Phelps in action at Rio 2016. Inset: Proudly displays his 22nd Olympic gold.

Michael Phelps won a 22nd Olympic gold and 26th medal in all with victory in the 200 metres individual medley on Thursday night in Rio.

The 31-year-old American swimmer, who plans to retire after the Rio Olympics, broke a 2,168-year-old record for the most all-time individual Olympic titles with the victory.

The previous record was held by Leonidas of Rhoses, who is believed to have won more Olympic titles at the ancient games than anyone else.

It was Phelps’ fourth successive win in the 200 metres individual medley, and his 13th individual gold medal with one more possible – in Friday’s 100m butterfly.

Phelps said: “I’ve been able to do everything I ever wanted. It all started just as a kid who wasn’t afraid.

“Things started hitting me this morning. I was like, ‘Wow, I only have to put on a racing suit two more times after tonight’ and, ‘I only have to warm down one more time after tonight’.

“Those little tiny things I’ve been saying to Bob (Bowman, his coach) every day.

“Today I was like, ‘Tonight’s my last 200 ever’ – that’s a very exciting one.

“The biggest thing for me through the meet so far is I’ve been able to finish how I wanted to.

“I’ve been able to come back and accomplish things I’ve dreamt of.

“To be able to come back and win my fourth 200 IM in a row, I don’t even know how to put that into words.

“This has been a very, very special week so far, for me, closing out my career.”