Michael Phelps has officially become the most successful Olympian in history after the American won a record 19th career medal.
Phelps, who is to retire after the London Olympics, swam the anchor leg as the USA won the men’s 4×200 metres freestyle relay gold.
France took the silver while China won the bronze.
It was Phelps’ 15th Olympic gold of his career after winning six in Athens and an unprecedented eight in Beijing.
The 27-year-old ‘Baltimore Bullet’ had earlier equalled Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina’s haul of 18 medals when he won silver in the men’s 200 butterfly final.
The pre-race favourite had been leading the butterfly event from the starting buzzer but 2010 world champion Chad Le Clos of South Africa overtook the American on the final stroke to win in style.
Takeshi Matsuda of Japan touched the wall for bronze.
SHIWEN CONTINUES TO SHINE
As Phelps gets ready to end a stunning career on a high note Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen is beginning her’s glittering with gold.
Shiwen won her second gold of the Olympics on day four of competition with victory in the women’s 200 metres individual medley.
The 16-year-old, who broke the world record en route to gold in the 400 metre medley, overtook Alicia Coutts of Australia on the final freestyle section to touch the wall first in a new Olympic record time of two minutes and 7.57 seconds.
Coutts took silver while Caitlin Leverenz of the United States clinched bronze.
Allison Schmitt of the United States destroyed the field en route to winning the women’s 200 metres freestyle gold. The 22-year-old from Pittsburgh was in a class of her own as she set a new Olympic record of one minute and 53.61 second.
France’s Camille Muffat, the 400 metre freestyle champion, was almost two seconds off the pace in second place. Australian Bronte Barratt rounded off the podium in Bronze.
ROYAL INVOLVEMENT IN BRITISH SILVER
Slowly but surely the 2012 Olympic host nation Great Britain are increasing their medal haul. On day four of the Games Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Zara Phillips played her part.
With cousins Princes William and Harry cheering from the stands, Phillips, helped Team GB win the equestrian team eventing silver.
Germany won gold in the multi-discipline event which tests horses and riders in dressage, cross-country and jumping.
Phillips, who is 31-years-ld and the daughter of Princess Anne who competed in the same equestrian event during the 1976 Olympics, knocked over a fence during the showjumping section but Tina Cook produced a near flawless run soon after to make up ground and help the home nation gallop to silver. New Zealand finished third for Bronze.
Germany were on top of the podium later on in the day when Michael Jung won the gold medal in the equestrian individual eventing competition. Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt won the silver and Germany’s Sandra Auffarth won the bronze.
ESTANQUET KING OF CANOES
Frenchman Tony Estanguet claimed his third Olympic gold medal in the canoe slalom single competition when beat his old rival Michal Martikan of Slovakia with a stunning effort at the Lee Valley White Water centre.
Estanguet, winner of the event in Sydney and Athens, tamed the choppy water of the tricky course, to stop the clock in 97.06 seconds.
Germany’s Sideris Tasiadis was second for silver while Martikan, who won his country’s first ever Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996 and then struck another gold four years ago in Beijing, took bronze.
It was another good outing for medal-topping China.
Shiwen’s gold was one of four on the day for her country. Lei Sheng beat Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt 15-13 to win gold in the men’s individual foil. China continued their domination of the diving events when Chen Ruolin and Wang Hao won gold in the women’s synchronised 10m platform event. Lin Qingfeng, meanwhile, won the men’s weightlifting 69kg title.
Kazakhstan’s Maiya Maneza won weightlifting gold in the women’s 63 kilo class. After the snatch and clean and jerk lifts Maneza won with a new Olympic record total weight of 245 kilograms.
Russian world champion Svetlana Tsarukaeva took silver while Canada’s Christine Girard won her country’s first women’s weightlifting medal with bronze.
GOLD FOR FEMALE US GYMNAST TEAM
The United States won the Olympic women’s gymnastic team gold for the first time since the ‘magnificent seven’ took the title in 1996.
Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross produced a dazzling display over the four apparatus to finish with a huge advantage over silver medallists Russia.
The US won with a total score of 183.596 points, 5.066 points clear of Russia. Romania, champions in 2004, recovered from a poor start to claim bronze.
South Korea’s Kim Jae-Bum won gold in the men’s judo 81kg event beating defending Olympic champion Ole Bischof of Germany in the final. Slovenia’s Urska Zolnir won the women’s 63kg title after beating Xu Lili of China.
US Army sergeant Vincent Hancock produced a perfect finale to win the men’s skeet shooting gold. The 23-year-old shot all 25 clays in the six-man final for an Olympic record 148 out of 150 targets.
Denmark’s Anders Golding claimed silver while 2011 Dakar rally champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar beat Russia’s Valeriy Shomin in a shoot-off for the bronze medal.