Michael Phelps may already have been the greatest swimmer of all time but his performances – and celebrations – here tonight showed once again how he is surely the most ferocious competitior ever to grace the Olympic stage.
The 31-year-old American first won a third title in the 200 metres butterfly before anchoring his United States team to a triumphant 4×200 metres freestyle relay victory.
It marked the 20th and 21st Olympic gold medals of his illustrious career.
It means he has now won more all-time summer medals than established sporting nations like Austria, Argentina and Jamaica.
He was always favourite for the 200m butterfly, the event in which he made his Olympic bow as a 15-year-old at Sydney 2000.
But the pressure was on as he lined up between Hungary’s fastest qualifier Tamas Kenderesi and South African Chad le Clos, the man who beat him to the gold medal four years ago in London.
He took the lead in the second length before easing clear to win in 1min 53.36sec.
Le Clos attacked before fading to fourth place.
Phelps stayed silent following his victory, looking straight ahead, before waving his arms and pointing his finger in a gesture which told everyone here exactly who was number one.