RIO DE JANEIRO - Cometh the final, cometh the man.
Swimming legend Michael Phelps might have lost four times in heats and semi-finals in Rio - most recently to Singapore's Joseph Schooling in the 100m butterfly heats earlier on Thursday. But the American remains unbeaten in finals at the 2016 Games, winning his fourth gold in the 200m individual medley in 1min 54.66sec.
Japan's Kosuke Hagino took silver in 1:56.61. China's Wang Shun claimed bronze (1:57.05) at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.
Phelps' record Olympic haul now stands at 26 - 22 gold. He won the 200m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle, and 4x200m freestyle golds this week.
He is the first swimmer to win four golds in an individual event, having claimed the 200m individual medley crown at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.
No swimmer has more Olympic medals in this event than Phelps.
"Every single day I'm living a dream come true," he said. "As a kid I wanted to do something that nobody had ever done before. I'm enjoying it."
Compatriot Ryan Lochte finished fifth in 1:57.47. This final was billed as the last competitive race between the 32-year-old and his longtime friend and rival Phelps.
Lochte was runner-up to Phelps, 31, in this event in 2004 and 2012, and a bronze medallist in 2008.
"I wouldn't be the swimmer I am today without him," he said. "We bring the best out in each other."