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.