Day 1 might have made everyone question whether Michael Phelps still had the champion in him. On Day 4, he proved that he can still rule the pool. With a silver in the butterfly and a redemptive team gold in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, Phelps surpassed former gymnast Larisa Latynina to become the most decorated Olympian in history. And he still has three events left to swim.
Four years ago Michael Phelps was at the top of his game. Here he shows off his Beijing Olympic gold medal as he stands on the victory podium with teammate Ryan Lochte (left), bronze medalist, and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, silver medalist, at the National Aquatics Center.
Women's 200m freestyle. After a period of stagnation between the 1988 and 2004 Games, American Allison Schmitt followed the example set by Italy's Federica Pellegrini at the Beijing Games, improving on the standing Olympic record by a full 1%. Schmitt's win made the competition look like amateurs. She was nearly 2 whole seconds in front of France's silver medalist Camille Muffat at the finish.
Men's 200m butterfly. South Africa now have two medals in swimming and both are gold. The second went to Chad le Clos for his performance on the longest of the butterfly races. Michael Phelps took second place but the Phelps of 2008 outswam Clos's time by 0.8%. Still, Phelps' performance this summer was enough to tie him with Larisa Latynina for the most medal-winning Olympian. Later in the night, he took hold of the record with a 19th medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Women's 200m individual medley. After a performance in the 400m individual medley that got all Olympic village talking, Ye Shiwen was back to wow the crowds again. In her first medal event of the Games, she swam a final leg that was faster than the gold-winning male, Ryan Lochte. Her gold-medal swim in the 200m individual medal was also record-setting, which will likely add to growing suspicions about how this 16-year-old has been been able to achieve such impressive times.
Gold medalist Tracey Caulkins's swim in 1984, the Los Angeles Games, improved on the standing Olympic record by 7.3%, which must have been helped by the event not being held at the Games of 1976 and 1980.
Women's 63kg. A second gold in the Women's weightlifting went to Kazakhstan, with Maiya Maneza's combined lift of 245kg. This year also had the narrowest margin between the gold and silver medalist of this weight class.
Men's 69kg. Although the lightweight class has been a medal event in Men's weightlifting since the Antwerp games of 1920, the maximum weight has varied. Considering the trends since 2000, when the maximum weight has been 69kg, competitors have has difficulty improving on the 2000 performance of Bulgarian Galabin Boevski. Though China's Lin Qingfeng took the top spot on the podium, his combined lift of 344kg was actually 1% less impressive than the gold-winning lift of the Beijing Games.