Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps at the 2012 Golden Goggles Awards. Photo courtesy Getty Images.
The retired swimmer edged out LeBron James in voting announced Thursday, a fitting payoff for winning four golds and two silvers at the London Games, as well as recognition for becoming the most decorated Olympian ever.
Phelps finished with 40 votes in the media balloting, winning the award for the second time. James had 37, followed by track star Usain Bolt with 23.
Carl Lewis is the only other Olympic-related star to capture AP male athlete of the year more than once, taking the award in 1983 and `84 for track and field. The only men honored more than twice are golf's Tiger Woods, cyclist Lance Armstrong and basketball's Michael Jordan.
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