The finale was a formality, more a coronation than a contest. Michael Phelps headed into the retirement the only way imaginable with another gold medal.
Reclaiming the lead with his trademark butterfly stroke, the one most people first saw in Sydney a dozen years ago, Phelps won the 18th gold of a mind-boggling career in the 4x100m medley relay on Saturday.
When it was done, Phelps hugged his teammates Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen and Nathan Adrian before heading off the deck for the final time in his suit. He waved to the crowd and smiled, clearly at peace with his decision to call it a career.
And what a career it was!
Phelps retires with twice as many golds as any other Olympian, and his total of 22 medals is easily the best mark, too. He can be quite proud of his final Olympics as well, even though there were times he had trouble staying motivated after winning a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games four years ago.
Bouncing back from a disappointing first race in London, a fourth-place finish in the 400 individual medley, Phelps wound up with more medals than any other swimmer at the Games - four golds and two silvers.