Michael Phelps Beats Ryan Lochte For Gold In Men's 200m IM Final

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Gold medallist Michael Phelps (R) of the United States reacts along with silver medallist Ryan Lochte (L) of the United States following the Men's 200m Individual Medley final on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Michael Phelps swam one last great race, beating Ryan Lochte for his 20th Olympic medal in the 200 IM.

With a dominant win in the men's 200 IM on Thursday, Michael Phelps became the first men's swimmer to win an individual gold medal in a single event in three consecutive Olympics, and likely ended for good any discussion about whether he or Ryan Lochte is the star of London.

Phelps led after the first 50 meters of butterfly, but Lochte was a mere .16 seconds back, and in position to make up ground on the backstroke, his specialty. Lochte didn't, though, falling back and falling further behind Phelps and Thiago Pereira of Brazil in the breaststroke.

Lochte closed on the final 50 meters of freestyle, but Phelps had far too much for Lochte, who had just finished the 200 backstroke a half-hour before, finishing in 1:54.27 to Lochte's 1:54.90.

Hungary's Laszlo Cseh took bronze in the event.

The victory gives Phelps his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 200 IM, and gives him the three straight medals feat on his third try after losses in the 400 IM (to Lochte) and 200 butterfly (to South Africa's Chad le Clos). The gold is Phelps' first individual gold of this Olympics, and 20th Olympic medal overall.

All is not lost for Lochte, though: the silver medal makes him the most decorated Olympian of the 2012 Games, with two gold medals, two silvers, and a bronze.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub. For more on Olympic swimming, follow the 2012 Olympic swimming section.

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