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One billion vs. one: Michael Phelps' one-man medal haul could match all of India

Debbie Phelps: Michael will hang up his goggles

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Gold medallist Michael Phelps (Getty Images)

Gold medallist Michael Phelps (Getty Images)

LONDON – Saturday will be the first time in his life that Michael Phelps has managed to catch 1.24 billion people from behind. Move over, India. You’re about to have company on the all-time medal podium.

With Phelps a virtual lock to capture his 22nd career medal in the 400 medley relay on Saturday night, he’ll tie with India at 22 on the all-time podium. That’s right, Phelps has accomplished as much in his Olympic career as all the athletes in India’s history combined – men and women. Not bad for one guy vs. one billion plus.

[ Video: Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian ever? ]

Not that India should feel bad. When Phelps hits the 22 mark, he’ll move into a tie for 54th place on the all-time country podium. As in, 54th in the total medal count of every … single … country … in the modern Olympics. In forever. At least India can claim a tie. Countries like Morocco (21), Thailand (21), Lithuania (16), Chile (13), and Venezuela (12) are all looking up at the one-man medal machine. And while Phelps has ruled out the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Americans can take heart. He surely made the decision without the knowledge of where he stands on the all-time medal board. Ireland and Nigeria are sitting at 23 … and they’ve really been asking for it.

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