Michael Phelps gifted himself an early birthday present by winning the 200 metres butterfly at the U.S. Olympic swim trials on Wednesday to punch his ticket to the Rio Summer Games.
Cheered on by a capacity crowd that included his fiancée Nicole and their infant son Boomer, Phelps, who turns 31 on Thursday, stormed to the wall in one minute, 54.84 seconds to secure a trip to his fifth consecutive Olympics.
After checking his time, the most decorated Olympian of all-time held up five fingers to the adoring crowd to signify his remarkable accomplishment.
Katie Ledecky, however, has had the same dreams and the 19-year-old qualified for her second individual event of the Rio Games by winning the women’s 200 freestyle. She secured her Rio ticket on Monday by winning the 400 freestyle.
Maya DiRado also had reason to celebrate winning the women’s 200 metres individual medley to go along with her victory in the 400 IM on Sunday.
Phelps, who has 22 Olympic medals, including 18 gold, will now head to Rio looking to reclaiming the title he won at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games but surrendered to South African Chad le Clos at the 2012 London Olympics.