Michael Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley for the fourth successive Games.
Michael Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley for the fourth successive Games.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Diya TV) — Michael Phelps has made a career of rewriting history, these days, he’s become more content in eclipsing it — the 31-year-old won the 200-meter individual medley for the fourth successive Games Thursday.

In order to find an Olympic swimmer to challenge the records set by the “Baltimore Bullet,” you’d have to go back more than 2,000 years. The U.S. star claimed his 22nd Olympic gold medal Thursday after powering past the opposition in the final of the 200-meter individual medley.

That victory, the 13th individual triumph of his Olympics career, powered him past the greatest athlete of ancient Greece and indeed of the Games — Leonidas of Rhodes. It equaled his fourth gold medal since the Rio games began, he moved ahead of Leonidas after edging out Japan’s Kosuke Hagino and China’s Wang Shun.

Leonidas, a runner who competed between 164 and 152 BC, won 12 individual events over four Olympics. Thursday was Phelps’ 13th. At 36, Leonidas was five years older than the American swimmer. Additionally, Phelps joined the track and field Olympians Al Oerter and Carl Lewis as the only Americans to win an individual event four times.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps made a mockery of those who suggested he might struggle against teammate Ryan Lochte and the aforementioned Hagino.

He was timed in 1 minute 54.66 and won by over a bodylength. The time was his second-best ever behind a 1:54.23 from Beijing. He held up four fingers afterward to indicate his four consecutive victories in the event, or the four golds he’s won at this Olympics.

“Right now I don’t know how to wrap my head around that,” he said in reaction to the win. “I don’t know what to say. It’s been a hell of a career.”

Immediately after he jumped out of the pool to retrieve his medal, Phelps went immediately back to work to qualify for Friday’s 100-meter butterfly final.

Set to retire at the end of these Games, Phelps has the potential to add five more medals to his trophy cabinet by the end of competition.