A tearful Michael Phelps signed off his incredible Olympic career with a 23rd gold medal in the 4x100m medley relay in Rio.
Phelps, whose butterfly turned the final America’s way after Britain’s Adam Peaty had swum the stint of the race in the breastroke leg, fell into a collective hug with his American team-mates and gave an emotional salute to the crowd.
He departs the scene with a total of 28 Olympic medals culled across four games, beginning in Athens 12 years ago, statistically at least the greatest Olympian in history.
Britain, who qualified fastest for the final, were led off on the backstroke leg by Chris Walker-Hebborn, who could do no better than sixth against the pace of Ryan Murphy of the United States.
Peaty had it all to do to haul Britain into contention but touched the wall second at 50metres and incredibly set james Guy into the butterfly leg in first place after hunting down Cody Miller of the United States.
Guy held off the inevitably Phelps surge until mid way down the second 50 to set Scott Duncan off in the final freestyle leg in silver medal position, which he maintained ahead of Australia in third.
America's victory came just minutes after the women's medley relay gave the United States its 1,000th Olympic gold medal at the Summer Games.
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