US swimmer Michael Phelps has become the Olympic athlete to win the most medals in all time by scooping more gold in the pool at Rio 2016.
Phelps has 26 medals and counting – along with records for winning the most golds as an individual, the most medals as an individual and the most golds in team/individual events.
With a haul of eight golds in the Beijing 2008 games, Phelps also snatched the title for winning the most golds at a single Olympics from another American swimmer – Mark Spitz, who won seven.
Phelps also holds more than 80 world records and titles and numerous world sports and personality awards.
Rio 2016 is his fifth and possibly last Olympics – he will be 36 by the time Tokyo 2020 comes around.
So what makes Phelps the most successful Olympian of all time?
Built for the pool
At six feet four inches tall, he has terrific reach and his toned, slender body reduces drag in the water. Some say his size 14 feet (US) act like flippers.
Phelps also has a more or less uninterrupted routine that has stood him in good stead since he was 12 years old.
He has stuck with the same coach for all that time and followed a drill-like regimen.
Friends describe Phelps as a loner with a calm focus on his swimming.
He has had his demons. He has two convictions for drink driving and photos of him with drug paraphernalia were published online.
Winner takes all
Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian ever?
It’s difficult to say. Some athletes who dominate other sports have fewer events to compete in at the Olympics – such as cyclists and rowers. This means they have less chance to win medals.
In the past, the Olympics tended to have less events for the greats like Jesse Owen, the sprinter and long jumper, to take part in.
Nevertheless, this does not denigrate Phelps’ achievements in any way. He has had the opportunity to be a winner and grabbed his chances with both hands
The future will decide whether Phelps is the greatest ever, but his name will live in the Olympic hall of fame for as long as the flame burns eternal.