Olympics: US win men's medley relay, golden send-off for Phelps

Michael Phelps of US react after he and team-mates won 4x100m medley relay gold at the Rio Games on August 13.
Michael Phelps of US react after he and team-mates won 4x100m medley relay gold at the Rio Games on August 13. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The United States won the men's 4x100m medley relay on Saturday after Ryan Murphy had given them a world record start that propelled Michael Phelps to a 23rd gold medal in his final Olympic race.

Britain took the silver medal and Australia bronze.

Phelps, who swam the third butterfly leg, ends the most successful Olympic career of all time with 23 golds, three silver and two bronze.

Murphy broke the world record for the 100m backstroke in the lead-off, clocking 51.85 seconds to eclipse the 51.94sec that compatriot Aaron Peirsol swam in 2009.

Britain's Olympic champion Adam Peaty then swam the breaststroke leg in a scorching 56.59sec to move his team up from sixth to first place, with Cody Miller touching second for the U.S. at half-way.

A huge roar went up when Phelps hit the water for the butterfly and then caught and overhauled Britain's James Guy to hand a 0.41sec cushion to Nathan Adrian.


Cody Miller, Michael Phelps, Ryan Murphy and Nathan Adrian of US react after they won 4x100m medley relay gold at the Rio Games on August 13. PHOTO: REUTERS

After the race, Phelps raised his alarms aloft to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd, while fiancee Nicole wiped tears from her eyes as she cradled their baby, Boomer, in the crowd.

The Americans finished in 3min 27.95sec, an Olympic record, to win by 1.29sec.

The U.S. have won the event at every Olympics since 1960, except the 1980 Games in Moscow which they boycotted.