The win marks Phelps’ 23rd gold medal overall, in what he says will be his last race.
Team USA maintained a considerable lead from the start of the relay. Ryan Murphy started his team off strong with solid backstroke, setting a new world record. Cody Miller was next, keeping the lead as he delivered a strong breast stroke. Then it was Phelps who jumped in the pool to for the 100 meter butterfly, neck and neck with Great Britain’s James Guy throughout the swim, but touched down first. Nathen Adrian freestyled the last portion of the relay, setting a new Olympic record and claiming gold for Team USA.
It was clearly an emotional moment for Phelps, who teared up and thanked the crowd as he exited the pool.
But perhaps the biggest celebration came before Phelps claimed his final gold. One special fan found himself so affected by the swimmer, that he decided to get a tattoo of his face -- the angry meme face.
Ricky Fung wasted no time in commemorating Phelps’ famous meme with a little ink on his right leg.
“I wasn’t even a big Phelps fan before this, and I’m not really a swim fan,” he told ESPN. “But just seeing him go out and win the way he has has been inspiring to me.”
But back to Team USA, just before the men won gold, the U.S. women’s team -- consisting of Kathleen Baker, Dana Vollmer, Simone Manuel, and Lilly King -- competed in their own relay, taking home gold and claiming the 1,000th gold medal for Team USA.