South African swimmer Chad Le Clos beats Michael Phelps in 200-meter butterfly

Chad le Clos of South Africa celebrates after winning the gold in the Men's 200m Butterfly final on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 31, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


Al Bello

Chad Le Clos of South Africa has beaten Michael Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly finals, ending the American swimming star's Olympic reign in what was dubbed his "signature event."

Phelps, 27, had been trying to become the first man to win an Olympic swimming event three times in a row, having previously won gold in Beijing and Athens, and today he led throughout the race.

But Le Clos, 20, edged out Phelps on the final stroke, winning in one minute 1:52.96 seconds, just 0.05 seconds ahead of Phelps, who came in at 1:53.01. Japan's Takeshi Matsuda placed third.

"That's been my dream ever since I was a little boy," Le Clos, who grew up in Durban, South Africa, told BBC Sport.

"Michael is my hero," he said. "I just wanted to race in the final and now I've won it. I can't believe it, I really can't."

By winning the silver medal, Phelps tied the record of most successful Olympian with 18 medals, later taking the record from Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina with a gold in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay.

Le Clos tweeted after the race:


Phelps graciously congratulated Le Clos on his Twitter account:


South African swimmer Cameron van der Burgh, who won the country's first gold medal in London on Sunday night, wrote:

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