Michael Phelps waggled four fingers, recognizing another historic achievement.
Now, he's the first swimmer ever to win the same event at four straight Olympics.
Ryan Lochte was left in his wake every time. In what was billed as the final showdown between two of America's greatest swimmers, Phelps blew away Lochte — and everyone else — to win his fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics and 22nd overall with a victory in the 200-metre individual medley Thursday night.
Phelps finished a full body-length ahead of the field after dominating the breaststroke and freestyle legs, finishing in one-minute, 54.66 seconds.
He's got 13 individual golds and 26 medals overall.
"I don't know how to wrap my head around that," Phelps said. "It's been a hell of a career."
That's an understatement.
A 12-time Olympic medalist, Lochte had settled for two silvers and a bronze behind Phelps at the last three Olympics in this event.
This time, he didn't even make the podium.
Leading at the midway point, Lochte faded to fifth — nearly three seconds behind the winner.
"We bring out the best in each other," he said. "I was a little bummed about my performance, but I was happy for him to get a gold and get one for Team USA."
Japan's Kosuke Hagino took the silver, while China's Wang Shun claimed the bronze.
But Phelps was in a league of his own, as usual.
He's got one more individual event at what he insists will really be his final Olympics — remember, he already retired once — and will be looking to add a fourth straight gold in the 100 butterfly to his staggering resume.
Then, he'll close out these Olympics in the 4x100 medley relay.
There seems little doubt he'll go six-for-six.
"I've been able to kind of finish how I wanted to," Phelps said.
Phelps's historic swim was even broadcast in the football stadium in his hometown of Baltimore, as the NFL's Ravens were in preseason action against the Carolina Panthers.
Ryan Murphy continues U.S.A. dominance in men's backstroke
American Ryan Murphy completed a backstroke sweep with a victory Thursday night in the 200 meters in 1:53.62, extending his country's dominance of the events that goes back to 1992. He had already won the 100 backstroke earlier these Games.
The Barcelona Games were the last time the United States lost a men's backstroke final.
Australia's Mitch Larkin grabbed the silver in 1:53.96, just ahead of Russia's Evgeny Rylov with the bronze in 1:53.97.
Japan's Kaneto wins 200m breastroke
Japan's Rie Kaneto won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 200 metres breaststroke on Thursday, edging out controversial Russian Yulia Efimova who won her second silver of the Games. Shi Jinglin of China took the bronze.