** Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde writes about "the riot of emotions" experienced by Phelps leading up to his 19th medal.
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- Michael Phelps
- Ricky Berens
** ESPN.com's Wayne Drehs says that Phelps made history differently last night.
U.S. teammate Davis Tarwater, who considers the 200 fly his best event and trained with Phelps for four years, disagreed. Forget the color of the medal. He called Phelps' 200 fly one of the best of his career.
"I've seen him otherworldly and struggle and everywhere in between," Tarwater said. "I just thought tonight he came out, and it was cold toughness, all grit, all heart. I saw it in his eyes. I saw it in his face. He was doing everything he could, muscling it out, trying to get the win. I can recognize that. I have so much respect for that man."
** FoxSports.com's Jen Floyd Engel says that Phelps' 19th medal made him a better Olympian than runner Carl Lewis.
So there is no asterisk here because Phelps got his medals in swimming. There is also no more debate. He passed Carl not with 19 but rather with the sustained dominance required for that to be possible.
** SI.com's Michael Farber says that it's beyond dispute that Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time.
Phelps stood alone later Tuesday, or more correctly he stood with teammates Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens, as he won his record-setting 19th medal, in the 4x200 relay. This was history as afterthought, a foregone conclusion -- as if, say, Ted Williams had crashed the .400 plateau with an infield single. In the huddle before the race, Phelps thanked his teammates for helping to nudge him to the brink and joked that they better hand him a substantial lead. They did, and only fractions leaked away in Lane 4 as Phelps powered to the wall, smiling throughout the last 20 meters.
** SI.com's Nick Zaccardi says that Phelps showed another signing of slowing down yesterday.
We're not in Beijing anymore. For the first time at an Olympics, Phelps lost a finger-tip finish. He was caught in the final few meters of his signature race, the 200-meter butterfly, by South African Chad le Clos, who won his first Olympic gold by five hundredths of a second and cried on the medal stand. Phelps' age (27) showed. He didn't have the stamina and was beaten by a man who was 10 years old the last time Phelps lost this race in major international competition (2002).