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Phelps Earns Place In History With 19 Olympic Medals

Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens pose on the podium with their gold medals after winning the men's 4x200m freestyle relay. (Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens pose on the podium with their gold medals after winning the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. (Photo credit: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

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(WSCR) With his gold medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay in the London Games on Tuesday, Michael Phelps earned his 19th Olympics medal, becoming the most decorated athlete in Olympic history.

The Americans won in 6:59.70, more than three seconds faster than second-place France. Ryan Lochte swam the leadoff leg, followed by Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens.

Before the race began, Phelps had a message for his teammates.

“You better give me a big lead,” Phelps said with a grin, “and they gave it to me. So I just wanted to hold on. And I thanked them for being able to allow me to have this moment. It has been a pretty amazing career but we still have a couple of races left.”

Phelps also won silver in the 200 butterfly Tuesday, passing former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won 18 medals, nine of them gold, at Melbourne in 1956, Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964.