Michael Phelps (Getty Images)
Rio de Janeiro - Five great moments in the career of Olympic swimming superstar Michael Phelps:
1. It was swimming's race of the century: 19-year-old emerging
star Phelps up against the great Ian Thorpe and compatriot Grant Hackett
and defending Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband in the 200m
freestyle in Athens. Phelps set an American record but finished third.
The defeat only fueled Phelps - who set a world record in a dominant
200m freestyle triumph four years later in Beijing.
2. Phelps' seventh gold medal in Beijing came by the narrowest
of margins, in a scintillating duel with Milorad Cavic - the
tough-talking Serbian who said he'd like to go down in history as "some
guy" who spoiled Phelps's eight-gold bid. In the lone final in which he
failed to set a world record, Phelps beat Cavic by one one-hundredth of a
second. It wasn't Phelps' first close-run 100m fly gold. In Athens, he
beat world record-holding team-mate Ian Crocker by four one-hundredths of
3. Phelps' 200m butterfly triumph in Beijing was a master-class
in discipline and technique as Phelps swam most of it blind when water
filled his goggles but still set a world record.
4. Just as he had in Athens and Beijing, Phelps had to rally in
London to win a third straight 100m butterfly, coming off the turn in
seventh and powering home to turn the tables on South African Chad le
Clos - who had beaten him at the last stroke in the 200m fly. The
victory gave Phelps his 17th Olympic gold.
5. Phelps wrested back the 200m butterfly crown in Rio -
avenging his defeat to le Clos who faded to finish fifth and returning
to the top in the event that started it all. The win made Phelps the
oldest individual swimming gold medallist in Olympic history at 31.
There to share it were fiancee Nicole Johnson and three-month-old son
Boomer, whose kiss from his teary dad melted hearts at the Olympic