Rio Olympics 2016: Michael Phelps, Simone Manuel bring even more gold home

Once again, the swimming pool was Michael Phelps' world Thursday. The most dominant Olympian ever added gold medal No. 22 to his collection by winning the 200-meter individual medley, topping long-time teammate and rival Ryan Lochte, who placed fourth.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from Thursday in Brazil.

Phelps continues to rule the world

He is older and definitely not 100 percent, but Phelps is still the best. Words are hard to find when we are up to 26 total medals and 22 golds for the Maryland native. He was a little slow out of the gate, but torched the IM field in the final 100 meters. Then, 40 minutes and a gold medal ceremony later, he did it again.

In the semifinal for the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps was last at the 50-meter turn. He finished second. Again, remarkable. He has another shot for gold Friday in the event.

Feel good story of the Olympics so far

Simone Manuel had a decent chance to medal Thursday in the 100-meter freestyle, but she wasn't supposed to compete for gold. The current Stanford Cardinal flew down the final 25 meters to chase down the Australian leaders and tied with a 16-year-old from Canada to win gold. It was the first individual swimming medal for an African-American woman ever.

Manuel was incredibly emotional after realizing she had won.

"It means a lot [being the first female African-American female to win individual gold]," Manuel said. "This medal is not just for me. It's for a whole bunch of people who came before me and have been an inspiration to me. ... And for all the people after me who believe they can't do it, I just want to be an inspiration to others that you can do it."

This is what the Olympics are all about. Breaking down glass ceilings and proving anybody can do it with the right attitude and preparation. Hats off to Simone, hopefully this is the first of many.

This is an American showcase

The United States leads the overall medal count after Day 6 by eight, but the really telling stat comes from the pool.

That's right, America has tripled every country in medals and also has more gold medals than any other country's total. America has put a gigantic emphasis on the Summer Games and early on, it is proving to be worth it. These are the events the United States is made to dominate -- swimming and women's gymnastics.

We will see if this dominance continues when the competition heads to track and field. But for now, the United States is living the American Dream in Rio.

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