History making Phelps in golden bliss


LONDON, England, August 2- Michael Phelps made more Olympic history Thursday night, winning gold in the men’s 200m individual medley to become the first man to win the same individual swimming event at three straight Games.

Phelps, denied trebles in London in the 400m medley and 200m butterfly, delivered a vintage performance to win in 1min 54.27sec and collect his 20th career Olympic medal — and his 16th gold.

American Ryan Lochte, the world champion and world record-holder, took silver in 1:54.90 and Laszlo Cseh of Hungar earned bronze in 1:56.22.

Although it was his first individual gold of the 2012 Games, there was no fist-pumping celebration from Phelps but instead a smile of quiet satisfaction as his mother and sister cheered from the stands.

Compatriot Tyler Clary won the gold medal in the Olympic men’s swimming 200m backstroke, denying US team-mate Lochte a repeat victory.

Clary overhauled Lochte on the final lap to win in an Olympic record of 1min 53.41sec with Ryosuke Irie of Japan taking silver in 1:53.78.

Lochte, the world and Olympic champion who had led at every turn, settled for bronze in 1:53.94.

“The fact I am the Olympic champion and Olympic record holder is something that is very humbling,” Clary said.

“It has also motivated me for the next four years.

“I stuck to my guns, kept my stroke on and was able to come by those last two on the last 15 metres and get my hand on the wall.

Further joy in the pool for Team US was achieved when Rebecca Soni broke the women’s 200m breaststroke record for the second time in two days as she won Olympic gold for the second straight Games.

Using her trademark late kick, Soni won gold in 2min 19.59sec, improving the record of 2:20.00 she posted in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

She became the first Beijing swimming gold medallist to successfully defend a title in London.

“I wasn’t trying to focus on records or medals or anything, I just wanted to swim one more race the way I knew I could,” Soni said.

“It has been my goal since I was a little girl to swim under 2.20, my coach told me I could be the first woman to do swim 2.19 and I have been chasing it ever since and I am just so happy.

“I didn’t look (at the turn), tonight I just wanted my hand on the wall and then I looked. I am so happy.”

Japan’s Satomi Suzuki took silver and Russian Yuliyia Efimova earned bronze.

“I can not describe my feelings, this is my first Olympics and to win two medals is beyond my expectations,” Suzuki said.

“I am very surprised. I tried to improve myself and go higher and higher, Rebecca’s time is the next target for me to beat now.”

“That was the perfect race I swam tonight, there is nothing I could have done better, I am esctatic.”

Lochte was due back in the pool half an hour later taking on Michael Phelps in the 200m individual medley final.