London 2012: Phelps breaks medals record

USA's Michael Phelps celebrates with his Gold Medal after winning the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final.
USA's Michael Phelps celebrates with his Gold Medal after winning the Men's 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay Final.
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Michael Phelps last night became the most decorated Olympian of all-time after claiming a silver and a gold at the Aquatics Centre.

The American was second in the 200m butterfly – inches behind South Africa’s Chad le Clos – to equal the record of 18 Olympic medals set by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina in 1964.

He then returned in the final race of the night to take number 19, as the USA cruised to victory in the 4x200m freestyle relay, Phelps anchoring the team home.

The understated 27-year-old said: “The 200m butterfly didn’t really go the way I wanted.

“The important thing was for me to come back with these (relay) guys and we did it.

“It’s my first medal of the meet so I’m very happy.”

In women’s football, Steph Houghton secured arguably the finest result in the history British women’s football, as Hope Powell’s side stormed into the Olympic quarter-finals by beating Brazil at Wembley.

There have been more significant achievements, but even Football Association officials conceded that against such formidable opposition, in front of a British record 70,584 crowd, there has been no better evening.

Gymnast Beth Tweddle admitted the British men’s Olympic gymnastics team bronze inspired the women’s team to their best ever result at a post-war Games.

Tweddle, Hannah Whelan, Imogen Cairns, Rebecca Tunney and Jennifer Pinches scored 170.495 to mark their best ever team result since the bronze medal won in 1928, surpassing the seventh place in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The United States, silver medallists four years ago, won team gold with a total of 183.596 to put them ahead of Russia, with Romania claiming the bronze medal.

“The boys went out and smashed it yesterday and they’ve been on cloud nine ever since. It does inspire us,” Tweddle said.

“We saw them go out and they were really chilled and loved the atmosphere. They just said to us: ‘Use the crowd to your max’ and to be honest I had to use it today.”