Michael Phelps Beats Leonidas Of Rhodes, But Who Is Leonidas Of Rhodes?
With all the records he has broken, swimmer Michael Phelps has surpassed the record set by Leonidas of Rhodes over 2000 years ago.Advertisement
Phelps won his 13th individual title by bagging the first position in the 200 meter individual medley. With this feat, he now has 22 gold medals and 26 total medals to his name.
Achievements of Leonidas of Rhodes
Leonidas earned 12 titles over a span of four Olympics meets – 164 BC, 160, BC, 156 BC, and 152 BC. As reported by BBC, in each of these meets he earned the first position in three different foot races.
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He won his last three gold medals in 152 BC in stadion (a race of 200 meters), the diaulos (a race of 400 meters) and the hoplitodromos (a race in armor). He was 36 then, five years older than Phelps. Known as a triastes – or tripler, who wins three events at a single Olympics meet – Leonidas is the only one who has achieved the same more than once. There have been seven triastes in history.
Leonidas also finds his place in Greek Literature, highlighted by Pausanias’ reference of him as “the most famous runner.” A statue in honor of the athlete in Rhodes says, “He had the speed of a God.”
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Michael Phelps creates history
As reported by the New York Times Phelps finished first in the 200 meter individual medley, clocking 1:54:66. His best in the same event came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when he finished the race in 1:54:23. Meanwhile, Kosuke Hagino of Japan finished second and Wang Shun of China came in third.
With this achievement, Phelps matched the record set by athletes Al Oerter and Cark Lewis to win an individual event four times.