The men’s 200-meter individual medley has been billed as one of the top events of the 2012 London Olympics.
It lived up to its billing Thursday.
Michael Phelps took gold in the event, edging out Ryan Lochte, who finished second. The medal marked Phelps' 20th career medal at the Olympics and his 16th gold.
Phelps -- who set the all-time record for most Olympic medals Tuesday -- has won the event three straight times in the Olympics, in 2004, 2008 and now 2012. The feat made Phelps the first man to win an individual Olympic swimming event at three consecutive Games.
The 200m IM had been Lochte's event ever since 2008. He won the title at the 2009 World Championships (where Phelps didn't compete), and repeated in 2011 –- setting a world record in the process -- to defeat Phelps..
Phelps then bested Lochte in the event at the Olympic Trials in June when the two finished 1-2.
Lochte won the 400-meter individual medley in dominating fashion Saturday while Phelps finished fourth.
Lochte pulled double duty Thursday when he raced in the men’s 200-meter backstroke just about 30 minutes before the 200m IM.
He took bronze in the back, finishing behind his teammate Tyler Clary and Japan's Irie Ryosuke.
Phelps also had a busy day Thursday. He raced in the 100-meter butterfly heats in the morning and then raced in the semifinals after the 200m IM final.