The men's 200-meter freestyle was first contested at the Olympic Games in 1900. The event was again contested in 1904 before a a 64-year hiatus. The event was again held in 1968 and has been a part of the Olympic swimming program ever since.
Here's a bit about the last five men to win the 200-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games:
Michael Phelps: American Michael Phelps is listed among the greatest swimmers of all-time. The gold medal he won in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2008 Olympic Games was just one of eight gold medals he won that year -- the most by any Olympic athlete in a single Games. Add those to the six gold medals he won in 2004, and Phelps has already accumulated a grand total of 14 Olympic gold medals. In fact, the 200-meter freestyle was one of two events in which he didn't win gold at the 2004 Olympic Games. There, Phelps finished third in the event behind 2004 winner Ian Thorpe and 2000 winner Pieter van den Hoogenband.
Ian Thorpe: Like Phelps, Australian Ian Thorpe is widely recognized as one of the most dominant middle-distance swimmers of all-time. At the 2004 Olympic Games, Thorpe earned gold in the 200-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle. Thorpe broke the long course 200-meter world record a total of six times during his career, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Pieter van den Hoogenband: Before earning silver in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2004 Olympic Games, Dutch swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband earned gold in the event at the 2000 Olympic Games. There, he defeated Thorpe, who took the silver medal, and Italian Massimiliano Rosolino, who earned bronze. Van den Hoogenband also earned gold in the 100-meter freestyle at the 2000 and the 2004 Olympic Games.
Danyon Loader: A swimmer from New Zealand, Danyon Loader earned the gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle at the 1996 Olympic Games. That year, he also earned gold in the 400-meter freestyle. Winning those medals made Loader New Zealand's first Olympic gold medalist in swimming since 1912. He also became the first swimmer from New Zealand to break world records in two different strokes when he broke short course world records in butterfly and freestyle, according to the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Evgeni Sadovyi: Like Loader, Soviet Union swimmer Evgeni Sadovyi also completed the 200-400 double when he earned gold in both events at the 1992 Olympic Games. He added a gold medal as a member of the Soviet Union's 4x200-meter relay team, setting a world record in the 400-meter freestyle and the relay. At the Barcelona Games, Sadovyi missed the world record in the 200-meter freestyle by one hundredth of a second.
Read more from this author: The Last Five Men to Win the 100-Meter Freestyle at the Olympic Games
Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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- Michael Phelps
- Ian Thorpe
- Pieter van den Hoogenband
- the Olympic Games