Phelps looks to wrap up career with one final gold
One more race. Two more laps. And, in all likelihood, an 18th gold medal for Michael Phelps.
His final Olympics is turning into quite a victory lap.
Phelps will wrap up his swimming career on Saturday with the butterfly leg of 4x100 medley relay, an event the US men have never lost. That streak should carry right on with the Americans sending out an imposing quartet that includes three gold medalists (Phelps, freestyler Nathan Adrian and backstroker Matt Grevers), plus a guy who won bronze (breaststroker Brendan Hansen).
"I don't think Michael is going to let anything go wrong in that race," said Eric Shanteau, who swam on the US relay in Friday's prelims.
Indeed, it's unfathomable to think the Phelps era could end with anything less than a performance that puts him atop the podium one last time, with yet another gold medal around his neck.
He picked up his 17th gold on Friday in his final individual race, the 100-meter butterfly, making the turn in seventh but rallying for a victory that was actually much more comfortable than his margin in the last two Olympics -- a combined five-hundredths of a second.
Phelps slammed the wall in 51.21 seconds for payback against the guy who edged him in the 200 fly, Chad le Clos of South Africa. No gliding into this finish, the move that cost Phelps the gold in their first meeting.
Image: Michael Phelps
Photographs: Clive Rose / Getty Images
'A lot of emotions haven't really come through my brain over the last week'
"I'm just happy that the last one was a win," said Phelps, who will likely fade into retirement with twice as many golds as anyone else.
"That's all I really wanted coming into the night."
He's still in race mode, at least for one more day. Phelps covered the final 50 in 26.86. Le Clos was the only other swimmer able to go under 27, and three guys failed to break 28.
"I thought it would hit me a lot harder than what it is right now," Phelps said.
"I guess a lot of those emotions haven't really come through my brain over the last week."
"Once I'm done," he added, "I think there's going to be a lot more emotion that really comes out."
Image: Michael Phelps
Photographs: Al Bello / Getty Images