Michael Phelps looked at the ugly trophy with the beautiful words.
"It's kinda weird looking at that and seeing `Greatest Olympian of All Time'," Phelps said.
It's not weird, Michael. It's just the plain fact.
If Phelps were a country, he'd be equal 37th on the all-time list of Olympic gold medal winners with 18, one more than Argentina has won in the 22 Olympics in which it has competed.
It was an appropriate grand finale to the London Olympic swimming programme and the greatest Olympic career of all.
When Phelps dived in for the butterfly leg in the last swimming event of the Games, the US were in second place in the 4x100m medley relay. He took his team into the lead and freestyler Nathan Adrian completed the job to give Phelps another gold to send the 27-year-old into retirement.
As well as his 18th gold medal - and 22nd in all - Phelps was given a shiny silver scrap metal trophy to remind him just who he has become and what he's achieved.
But he knows.
"I could just sum it up in a couple of words and say `I did it'," he said. "Through the ups and downs in my career, I've been able to do everything I wanted to accomplish.
"I've been able to do things no-one else has ever done and that's been something I've always wanted to do."
As the youngest male American Olympian in 68 years, 15-year-old Phelps came fifth in the final of the 200m butterfly at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A year later, he became the youngest man to ever set a swimming world record, when he smashed the 200m buterfly mark at the age of 15 years and nine months.
And from there, the records kept tumbling.
Six gold and two bronze in Athens in 2004, and then the remarkable eight gold from eight events in Beijing four years later brought him to London as arguably the greatest Olympian of all.
He just needed another three medals of any colour to put an end to any argument. Gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay did that, as he surpassed Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's record of 18 medals, but only nine gold, set in the 1950s and 60s.
For all he's achieved, he remains respectful to the Olympics and to those who have helped him. He knows no athlete, not even him, is anything other than just a part of the Olympics.
"The best thing about the Olympics is there are people from all over the world who have come together to compete in the best sporting event ever, the biggest sporting event in the world," he said. "It's something that I'm very thankful to be a part of."
And he's thankful for Bob Bowman, the only swimming coach he's ever had.
"We've been able to become," he started inclusively, before correcting himself. "I've been able to become the best swimmer of all time, and I said [to Bowman] we got here together and I thanked him.
"My tears could hide behind my goggles, I was like `yours are streaming down your face'. Tonight was a very emotional night for Bob and I.
"I wouldn't be here today without everything he's done for me and I love him to death."
He started the London Games with a shock fourth in the 400m individual medley - the only time he's missed a medal since Sydney 12 years ago. But he finished fittingly with with four gold and two silver, and the glorious crescendo to a glorious career.
"I did everything I wanted to," he said. "I finished my career how I wanted to," he said.
His American team-mates say they're in awe of him and even triple gold medallists get tongue tied talking about him.
"He's inspirating," said Alison Scmitt.