Michael's amazing feat wouldn't have been possible without the help of his relay teammates—Jason Lezak, Cullen Jones and Garrett Weber-Gale.
During the nail-biting final leg of their 4x100 medley race, Jason, the anchor and oldest man on America's swim team, overtook a French swimmer at the last second. Jason says it was an intense fight to the finish.
"I'd been a part of the two relays in the past two Olympics where we came up a little bit short, and I wanted to do everything that I could to bring that relay back to the U.S. and show how dominant we are as a nation," he says.
Before the relay, Jason says he gathered his teammates together to make sure they were all swimming toward the same goal. "In a few relays in the past, we felt like four individuals out there," he says. " I wanted to make sure that we all knew this was a team effort."
Cullen, the second African-American swimmer in history to win a gold medal, says the experience tested his nerves. "I looked over at Garrett, and this was our first Olympics, and I said, 'Nothing could compare to this,'" he says. "I was absolutely shaking. I'm looking at Jason and Michael, the veterans. ... They're just sitting there, cool and calm, and my legs are just buckling."
Garrett says just thinking about the relay makes his heart start pounding. "It was amazing," he says. "It was just a dream come true."
Every athlete loves to win, but Michael said there's nothing like finishing first at the Olympic Games. "It's one of the greatest feelings," he says. "I know a bunch of the athletes here can agree that there was nothing like standing on the medal podium and hearing the National Anthem play with a gold medal draped around your neck."