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Michael Phelps is golden again at Rio Olympics

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Michael Phelps won the 200 individual medley for a fourth straight Olympics.
  • Phelps won the event by a full body length.
  • American Ryan Murphy completed a gold medal sweep of the men's backstroke events.

Michael Phelps waggled four fingers, recognizing another historic achievement.

Now, he’s the first swimmer ever to win the same event at four straight Olympics.

American Michael Phelps celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 200-meter individual medley during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Phelps is in Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the PGA Championship to help Jordan Spieth deal with the mental pressure of trying to complete the career grand slam.

Ryan Lochte was left in his wake every time.

In what was billed as the final showdown between two of America’s greatest swimmers, Phelps blew away Lochte — and everyone else — to win his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley Thursday night.

Phelps finished a full body-length ahead of the field with total dominance on the breaststroke and freestyle legs, finishing in 1 minute, 54.66 seconds.

Lochte didn’t even make it to the podium this time, after taking two silvers and a bronze behind Phelps at the last three Olympics in this event. Leading at the midway point, Lochte faded to fifth.

Japan’s Kosuke Hagino took the silver, while China’s Wang Shun claimed the bronze.

But Phelps was in a league of his own.

As usual.

He’s got one more individual event at what he insists will really be his final Olympics — remember, he already retired once — and will be looking to add a fourth straight gold in the 100 butterfly to his staggering resume.

Then, he’ll close out these Olympics in the 4x100 medley relay.

There seems to be little doubt he’ll go six-for-six.

Led by Phelps, it was quite a night for the powerful American team, which picked up two more golds when Ryan Murphy completed a sweep of the men’s backstroke events in the 200 and Simone Manuel tied a 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak for the top spot in the 100 freestyle, stunning world-record holder Cate Campbell of Australia. With the win, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win gold in swimming.

Campbell and her younger sister, Bronte, were hoping to battle for gold after teaming up to lead Australia to a victory in the 4x100 free relay.

Neither one of them made the podium by themselves. Cate was under her own world-record pace at the turn, but had nothing coming back and fell all the way to sixth. Bronte was second at the turn and slid to fourth at the finish.

Murphy extended red-white-and-blue dominance of the backstroke events that goes back to 1992.

The Barcelona Games were the last time the United States lost a men’s final in those events.

Three days after winning the 100 back, Murphy touched first again in 1:53.62.

Murphy became the third American man in the last five Olympics to take both races. Aaron Peirsol pulled off the sweep at Athens in 2004, while Lenny Krayzelburg claimed both golds at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Australia’s Mitch Larkin grabbed the silver in 1:53.96, just ahead of Russia’s Evgeny Rylov with the bronze in 1:53.97.

The Olympics came to an end for another U.S. backstroke champion.

Missy Franklin finished 14th in the semifinals of the women’s 200 back — beating out only two other swimmers. It was a far cry from the London Games, where “Missy The Missile” became only the second American woman to take four gold medals in a single Olympics.

This time, she was limited to a single gold, which came for swimming the preliminaries of the 4x200 freestyle relay. Franklin failed to even make it to the final of her two individual events.

OTHER OLYMPIC NOTES

U.S. field hockey team improves to 4-0: The U.S. women’s field hockey team has improved to 4-0 and will play Britain on Saturday to determine who will win Pool B.

Katie Bam scored two goals and helped the U.S. defeat India 3-0 Thursday night.

Bam scored in the first and third periods, and Melissa Gonzalez added a goal in the fourth.

Goalie Jackie Briggs notched her first shoutout of the Games against India after allowing a single goal in each of the team’s first three matches.

The United States, which trains at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim Lancaster County, already had clinched a slot in the quarterfinals. They got off to a strong start by knocking off No. 2 Argentina and No. 3 Australia in their first two matches.

American Harrison defends judo title: American Kayla Harrison has successfully defended her Olympic judo title in the women’s 78-kilogram division, after beating France’s Audrey Tcheumeo in a tense final.

With just six seconds left, Harrison caught Tcheumeo’s arm in an armlock, and forced Tcheumeo to tap out in submission, automatically winning the contest.

Harrison’s coach, Jimmy Pedro, said Harrison’s achievement was enormous, given that there have been no repeat Olympic judo champions at Rio or at the previous games in London. Harrison was in commanding form throughout Thursday, winning her preliminary matches automatically after pinning her opponents down to the mat for 20 seconds; her first match lasted just 43 seconds.

Pedro said Harrison was “on fire” on Thursday and described her defense of her Olympic title as “epic.”

Fraser takes lead in golf: Fraser shot an 8-under 63 that stood for a three-shot lead over Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Graham DeLaet of Canada. He set an Olympic record, though that was hardly a surprise considering golf had not been part of the Olympics in 112 years.

Adilson da Silva of Brazil hit the first Olympic golf shot since 1904 with the opening tee shot. Justin Rose made what is believed to be the first hole-in-one. The surprise was the American performance. With four golfers in the 60-man field, only Matt Kuchar (69) broke par. Rickie Fowler started with a double bogey and shot 75, beating only two players. Patrick Reed shot 72 and Bubba Watson had a 73.