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London 2012 Olympics: Michael Phelps beats record medal tally

Greatest Olympian ever! Phelps beats all-time record medal tally with double in pool

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UPDATED:

20:14 GMT, 31 July 2012

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LIVE RESULTS |
EVENT SCHEDULE |
MEDALS TABLE

Michael Phelps tonight became the most decorated athlete in Olympic history when his gold in the 4×200 metres freestyle relay took him to 19.

The 27-year-old had equalled Larisa Latynina's record earlier this evening with silver in the 200m butterfly.

However, the United States swimmer moved him beyond the Russian whose record had stood since 1964 to stand alone at the pinnacle with three more events to come.

History maker: Phelps bagged the two medals he needed to become the most decorated Olympian

History maker: Phelps bagged the two medals he needed to become the most decorated Olympian

Phelps' medal tally
15 x GOLD2 x SILVER
2 x BRONZE

The American has always
maintained he is not interested in medal counts and will be furious with
himself after Chad le Clos beat him on the touch in his first race of the evening – the 200m butterfly.

It is a measure of the expectations placed on the Baltimore swimmer that there was audible shock around the Aquatics Centre, a feeling of deflation even.

However, credit is due to Le Clos who swam a superb race to take advantage of Phelps' poor judgement, the American gliding into the wall rather than finishing on a full stroke as has been his hallmark.

The South African won in one minute 52.96 seconds, 0.05secs ahead of Phelps with Japan's Takeshi Matsuda third.

The 200m butterfly final came after Caitlin McClatchey had finished seventh in the 200m freestyle which United States swimmer Allison Schmitt won in Olympic record time.

Pipped to the post: Phelps narrowly missed out on the gold medal

Pipped to the post: Phelps narrowly missed out on the gold medal

No hard feelings: Phelps congratulates Le Clos on sealing gold

No hard feelings: Phelps congratulates Le Clos on sealing gold

The 26-year-old McClatchey produced her
best performances for years to reach the final but she was not
realistically expected to be in the battle for the title.

Schmitt, who last month swam the
event faster than anyone in textiles in history, led from start to
finish and touched in a dominant 1:53.61.

France's Camille Muffat was second as
the pair reversed their placings in the 400m freestyle on Sunday with
Australia's Bronte Barratt third.

McClatchey touched in 1:57.60 in what is set to be her final Olympics after three Games.

She said: 'I would have liked to have
gone a bit faster than I did in the semi, I tried something a bit
different and ended up going out too hard probably, tried to stick with
Missy (Franklin) down the first length, and it took a bit more out of
me.

Gold standard: Le Clos was the big winner - taking gold in the 200m butterfly

Gold standard: Le Clos was the big winner – taking gold in the 200m butterfly

Gold standard: Le Clos was the big winner - taking gold in the 200m butterfly

Gold standard: Le Clos was the big winner – taking gold in the 200m butterfly

'It was all about enjoying it tonight, I knew I would have to do something massive to get into the medals.

'I really enjoyed it, the crowd were fantastic again, I couldn't ask for anything more from them.

'I didn't even think I would make the
final because it was such a strong event so that was a massive
achievement, and I didn't come last so that was good!'

Jemma Lowe squeezed into the final of
the 200m butterfly in 2:07.37, a relief after the shock exit of world
silver medallist Ellen Gandy this morning.

You beauty! Le Clos' dad, Bert, celebrates his son's famous victory

You beauty! Le Clos' dad, Bert, celebrates his son's famous victory

You beauty! Le Clos' dad, Bert, celebrates his son's famous victory