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London Olympics: Michael Phelps upset by Chad le Clos

The 20-year-old from South Africa takes the gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly but Phelps' silver gives him a record-tying 18 medals in his Olympic career.

July 31, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • South Africa's Chad le Clos celebrates after defeating Michael Phelps, top, in the 200-meter butterfly on Tuesday.
South Africa's Chad le Clos celebrates after defeating Michael Phelps,… (Lee Jin-man / Associated…)

LONDON -- It came down to the last stroke.

And Michael Phelps came up just short, resulting in a shocking reversal of fortune. Chad le Clos, a 20-year-old from South Africa, touched the wall first in the 200-meter butterfly.

Phelps' silver ties him with Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina for the most Olympic medals won by an individual, at 18.

This ended Phelps' bid for three consecutive Olympic gold medals in his pet event, the one that put him on the map.

The 200-butterfly got him to the Olympics for the first time in 2000, and Phelps had not lost the race at the Summer Games since placing fifth in Sydney.

Le Clos closed with an emphatic touch, winning in 1 minute, 52.96 seconds. Phelps took the silver in 1:53.01 and Takeshi Matsuda of Japan claimed the bronze in 1:53.21. American Tyler Clary placed fifth.

The South African seemed blown away by the result.

"I've dreamed about that since I was a little boy," he said in his interview with the BBC on the pool deck, adding that Phelps had been a hero of his when he was growing up. "I can't believe it."

The outcome was the reverse of 2008 when Phelps won the event in Beijing with his final touch.

Phelps was to swim later Tuesday in the 800 freestyle relay.


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