RIO DE JANEIRO -- Three golds in four days. The Iron Lady sure has made up for her previous Olympic disappointments.
Hungary's Katinka Hosszu won the 200-meter individual medley Tuesday to complete a sweep of the IMs.
"Amazing," said Hosszu, whose nickname comes from her grueling schedule. "I honestly can't believe I have three golds."
Hosszu, 27, came to Rio de Janeiro with five golds and nine medals overall at the world championships. But she had never won an Olympic medal, her closest call a fourth-place showing in the 400 IM four years ago in London.
"I would have been OK grabbing any color," she said.
Her fourth games have been a triumph for Hosszu, who is coached by her American-born husband, Shane Tusup. The couple met as students at the University of Southern California.
Hosszu shattered the world record in the 400 IM, also claimed gold in the 100 backstroke and held off Britain's Siobhan-Marie O'Connor to take the 200 IM. The winning time was an Olympic-record 2 minutes, 6.58 seconds.
"I don't think I had my best race, but this is what we've been working for the last four years," she said.
At the 2012 London Games, Hosszu was expected to shine. Instead, she struggled on swimming's biggest stage.
"I was so nervous, so afraid -- what if I don't win a medal?" she recalled. "Coming into Rio, I wanted to take it like any other meet. I'm really able to just be myself."
Hosszu dropped out of the 200 butterfly during the afternoon preliminaries, wanting to put her full energy into a race that encompasses all three strokes.
"Having just one gold would have been unbelievable for me," Hosszu said. "Having three is really just a bonus."
And she's not done yet.
Hosszu still has the 200 back on her schedule.
"Katinka is having a fantastic meet," said American rival Katie Ledecky, winner of three medals, including two golds. "She has such a wide range of events that she's been continually improving on the last couple of years."