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Michael Phelps wins 19th Olympic gold medal, helping 4x100 relay team to victory

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps (Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO – Michael Phelps has earned the 19th gold medal of his career, helping the United States win the 4x100-meter freestyle relay at the Rio Olympics.

[VIDEO: Rachel McNeill reports live from Rio de Janeiro]

Phelps took the second leg after Caeleb Dressel led off for the Americans, and it was another memorable performance at a distance that isn't Phelps' specialty. His split of 47.12 seconds gave the Americans a lead they never relinquished. In fact, it was a faster time than all but the three anchors on the medal-winning teams.

[VIDEO: Michael Phelps admits the victory in the 4x100m freestyle relay was especially sweet after the 2012 silver left a sour taste in his mouth]

Ryan Held protected the top spot before handing off to Nathan Adrian, the top sprinter in America. It was never really in doubt at that point, as Adrian touched first in 3 minutes, 9.92 seconds. Defending Olympic champion France took the silver in 3:10.53, while Australia rallied for the bronze in 3:11.37.