Michael Phelps is used to being in a league of his own. So it was strange to see him, after what he insists was his final individual race as an Olympian, crowding onto a medal stand with two other swimmers. And it wasn't even the top step. In a changing of the guard that left him totally at peace, Phelps was beaten Friday by a 21-year-old who grew up idolizing the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. Joseph Schooling of Singapore built a big lead in the 100-meter butterfly and easily held off one of Phelps' patented comebacks, leaving him at 22 gold medals with one race, a relay, left to go, the AP reports.
And that race will be his final event, Phelps insists. No more comebacks. "I've been able to do everything I've ever put my mind to in the sport and after 24 years in the sport, I'm happy with how things finished," says the 31-year-old, who is a father to 3-month-old Boomer and will soon be marrying his fiancee, Nicole Johnson. But this being Phelps, he had to do something out of the ordinary, even in defeat. He was part of the first three-way tie for silver in Olympic swimming history, joined on the next-highest step by longtime foes Chad le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary. They all touched in 51.14 seconds, which was actually faster than Phelps' gold medal-winning time in 2012. (His most recent gold medal broke a 2,168-year-old record.)