Michael Phelps has long been considered one of the greatest Olympians of all time, right there with modern Games greats like Usain Bolt, Larisa Latynina and Jesse Owens.

But now, after Phelps won the 200-meter individual-medley final Thursday night in Rio de Janeiro, his 13th individual gold medal, we can safely say he has eclipsed Leonidas of Rhodes.


Oh, you don't know Leonidas of Rhodes? He trended on Ancient Greek Twitter some 2,168 years ago. You can check the stone tablets if you don't believe me.

Phelps and Leonidas have both been compared to gods, but really, there is little else in common.

Over his five Olympics, Phelps won gold in five swimming events: the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 freestyle.

Over his four Olympics, Leonidas won gold in three track events. The stadion was a 200-yard sprint on a packed-earth track. The diaulos was a 400-yard run, with a slight turn at the end of the race. Both were run in the nude.

The hoplitodromos was like the diaulos, except it was performed with the bronze armour and shield of a hoplite infantryman, which weighed over 50 pounds.

Leonidas won 'em all. He was basically Phelps in the 200 IM, only it was on the track, and in three events, and held on the same day. No Speedos, either. According to the Olympics news site, "Philostratus the Athenian wrote in his Gymnastikos that Leonidas's versatility made all previous theories of runners' training and body types obsolete."

Here's to Leonidas of Rhodes and Michael of Baltimore. Here's to old-timey naming conventions, too.

(This post brought to you by Jonas of Tronc.)

Recommended on Baltimore Sun