Michael Phelps (L) of the U.S. swims with Chad le Clos of South Africa during their men's 200m butterfly final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Michael Phelps has tied the Olympic medal record with a second place finish in the 200 meter Butterfly Tuesday.
The silver medal won him his 18th medal and tied him with Larisa Latynina, a Soviet-era gymnast who has 18 Olympic medals and is the most decorated Olympian ever. Latynina, 77, set the record over 48 years ago.
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Despite tying Latynina's record, he was unable to create his own record when he lost the race to South Africa's Chad le Clos. Had he won the gold, he would have become the first male swimmer to win the same event in three straight Olympics. He won the 200 meter Butterfly in 2004 and 2008 games in Athens and Beijing.
Regardless, Phelps, whose Olympic campaign got off on the wrong foot, will have a chance to surpass Latynina's record moments after the last race when he competes in the 4x200m freelance relay final. With a loss in that race, Phelps gets another chance at number 19 with 200m IM final. He then gets a chance to either extend his record or create it in the 100meter Butterfly on Friday and the 4x100m medley relay on Saturday.