Sixteen years after winning his first individual gold medal at the Olympics, Anthony Ervin picked up his second with a furious dash from one end of the pool to the other.
With the win, Ervin, 35, becomes the oldest swimmer to win gold. He takes that title just two days after Phelps, 31, became the oldest swimmer to win individual gold.
Completing a remarkable journey in the blink of an eye, the oldest member of the U.S. swimming team touched first in the 50-meter freestyle, edging the defending Olympic champion, Florent Manaudou of France, by a mere hundredth of a second.
Another American, Nathan Adrian, took the bronze.
The 35-year-old Ervin won his first gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, tying teammate Gary Hall Jr. for the top spot. Then, Ervin walked away from swimming, skipping the next two Olympics while he embarked on a journey to find his purpose in life.
He sold his first 50 free gold medal on Ebay for $17,101 to aid the 2004 tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia, and lost another one while traveling in his retirement.
Turns out, his purpose in life was swimming all along. He returned to make the American team in 2012, but failed to win a medal in London. Now, improbably, he's back on the top of the podium again.
Ervin won another gold in Rio with the 4x100m free relay (he qualified for it by racing in the preliminaries, but didn't stand atop the podium) but he didn't have immediate plans for it when asked Thursday night.
"I'm living in the moment, man," he said at the time.