Michael Phelps won his ~twenty-third~ Olympic gold medal Saturday night, as Team USA’s 4×100-meter relay team took first place (shout to to bae Nathan Adrian, Ryan Murphy, and Cody Miller, also on the team) in the event on the final night of competition at the Rio aquatics center. Oh, and they set a new Olympic record in the process, just to finish things out in style. Here’s Michael Phelps’s “Yup, Retiring For Real This Time” Cryface:-
With this believed to be Phelps’s final Olympic event before his retirement — and, like, legitimate retirement, not like when he said he was done after the 2012 Olympics, OK?! — it was an emotional moment for all involved, so don’t pretend it was just pool water that had got into your goggles, other swimfolk. We know you care! Case in point, here’s Michael himself with some Olympic teariness happening post-race.
Having come out of retirement to compete in Rio, the 31-year-old won five golds and a silver at these, his fifth Games. Afterwards, he admitted it had been an emotional night.
“Getting off the bus and walking into the pool tonight, I almost felt myself starting to cry,” he said. “Last warm-up, last time putting on a suit, last time walking out in front of thousands of people representing my country. It’s insane. This is how I wanted to finish my career.
“I held back a little bit on the podium but there were some (tears) that were popping down. It just feels good to know that the hard work did pay off and I was able to fight through some of the times that I went through the last two years and get back to where I actually wanted to be.”
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The hullabaloo over the 31-year-old’s farewell overshadowed the achievement of the women’s 4x100m medley relayers as they captured a 1,000 Olympic medal for the United States according to the US Olympic committee, dating back to 1896 when James Connolly won triple jump gold.
Even that statistic seemed to pale against the irrepressible Phelps. The same could be said for Ryan Murphy’s leadoff backstroke leg, which set a new 100m world record of 51.85.
Nathan Adrian brought the Americans home to preserve their unbeaten Olympic record in the event and give them a 16th swimming gold from 32 events for the week, matching their haul in London four years ago.
An Olympic record time of 3:27.95 was lost in the emotion after the race as Phelps tearfully saluted the crowd while his beauty queen fiancee Nicole Johnson looked on sobbing as she held cradled son Boomer.