1 of 20Michael Phelps is the greatest (2012)
Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time after the U.S. cruised to an easy victory in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay to give him his 19th medal and 15th gold. Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina held the record with 18 for 48 years. She and Phelps were tied for an hour after he won silver in the 200-meter butterfly. By the end of the London Games, he had 22 medals, including 18 golds (twice as many as the next closest competitor). During the medal ceremony for his final race, the 4x100-meter medley relay, FINA, swimming's governing body, presented him with a special trophy engraved with the phrase "greatest Olympic athlete of all time."
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