U.S. swimming legend ties 2,000-year old Olympic record

Tom Hinde

The record has stood the test of time, outlasting civilizations, wars, epochs of change and progress. It's no match, however, for U.S. swimming legend Michael Phelps. Phelps' win in the 200-meter butterfly Tuesday night mean's he's drawn into a tie for the most Olympic titles ever, according to historians.

For more than 2,000 years, Leonidas of Rhodes held the record and could rest pretty easy knowing on one would ever come close. Until a kid from Baltimore learned to swim. Leonidas held the record with 12 Olympic titles. Phelps has equaled that mark and may surpass it Thursday when he swims the 200 individual medley race.

Phelps has a total of 21 Olympic gold medals, but nine have come in relays. There were no relays in Leonidas's day, nor was there competitive swimming. Leonidas's 12 titles were for running where he won all three races at four straight Olympic Games. Even more impressive, the races apparently took place on the very same day.