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As if to stamp his godlike authority on the Olympics for good measure, Michael Phelps has taken athletic achievement to Olympian heights by smashing a record that has remained untouched for two millennia.
The American won his 22nd gold medal today, 9 have come from relays while 13 are individual triumphs. The 31-year-old swimmer won his 13th gold medal in the 200metres men’s event to surpass the 2000-year record set by Greek Olympian, Leonidas of Rhodes who won 12 individual gold medals.
Leonidas competed in four successive Olympiads in 164BC, 160BC, 156BC and 152BC and in each of these he won three different foot races.
An athlete who won three events at a single Olympics was known as a triastes, or tripler. There were only seven triastes and Leonidas is the only one known to have achieved the honour more than once. there were no consolation prizes at the Olympics, no silver and bronze, you either won or lost.
He was 36 when he did it on the fourth occasion – five years older than Phelps is today.
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