'I wanted to have no regrets' – Le Clos | SASCOC - SASCOC
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‘I wanted to have no regrets’ – Le Clos

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It was well after midnight when South Africa’s Chad le Clos faced the media after his silver medal in the men’s 200m freestyle had doubled the country’s tally at these Games and taken his personal Olympic total to three – and counting.

‘It was a crazy race,’ Le Clos said of his 1min 45.20sec heroics that saw him touch for silver behind the 400m and 1500m champion from London four years ago, the formidable Yang Sun. ‘It was the first time I have ever actually gone out that hard in any race, usually I come from behind,’ the South African said. He had reached the wall at 50m under world record pace in 23.39, which was faster than the 23.91 he had taken in the semi-finals.

‘For me I just wanted to put it all on the line and have no regrets, turn at the 150m and have a big last underwater and hopefully hang on.’ The plan almost worked to perfection.

There was less than an hour between his 200m freestyle and the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly in which he had won gold in 2012 and he’d needed the assistance of two physios to get him ready for the butterfly event.

How did he feel about the tight turnaround? ‘It was not too bad. Straight after the race I was feeling a bit woozy, had too much coffee but it was fine. I was very comfortable with the semifinals. I had the advantage of looking at the first heat. It was a difficult day but happy I came through.’

And, the million dollar question … is the 200m butterfly final a match between him and Michael Phelps?

‘It is me and seven other guys. No one expected me to win four years ago, so I would be an idiot to stand here and say it is just me and Michael. I have nothing but respect for these competitors. This is a tough stage to be on.’

What about the ‘shadow boxing’ showdown that went viral after footage showed him taunting Phelps ahead of the stem-final?

‘For my side there is no real tension. I have no emotion when I am racing. Of course there is a huge rivalry between Michael and myself. As I have said before I have huge respect for him.

‘In the last year there was definitely spoken words over his nationals and I had world championships, I think a lot of it was misquoted. But at the end of the day I am a racer and I want to beat him and he wants to beat me.’

Le Clos also spoke about his parents, who are battling cancer. ‘It has been very difficult to say the least, the last few months, but when you are swimming for something greater than yourself it can help you achieve great things. I swim for not only my country, my coach and my teammates but I swim for my family as well. That last 50m I think about them.’

Going forward, why should his rivals look out for him? ‘I have a saying, “You have to fear someone who never gives up”. I will keep coming back at you. So I am sure everyone else will be thinking about that the last 50m.’

Le Clos speeds to spectacular silver

Chad le Clos image by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA


9 comments
Peter Britz
Peter Britz

Close but no cigar ! 2nd & 4th by a thread - when you're on the line with the best in the world , the position you get , is what it is - GREAT show of skills !!! - can't believe SASCOC dressed you guys in kit from 80 's

Fairoez Cassiem
Fairoez Cassiem

Congrats Chad your best is good enough. We are proud of you

Samantha Jonas Reines
Samantha Jonas Reines

Super Proud of u Chad 💚💚💚💚 what a 200ml freestyle final wow Silver medal lovely🙌👏👏 whatever the results Your a Star🌟⭐ mwahzzzz Goodluck for the Final against Phelps im gonna stay awake for this one May God Bless u Chad...

Alta Brouwer
Alta Brouwer

You already showed the WORLD what you are capable of.. we are and will always be proud of you ♡

Pamela Jean Dobson
Pamela Jean Dobson

Whatever the result you're a star \U0001f44d\U0001f1ff\U0001f1e6

Emelda Khumalo
Emelda Khumalo

Well done Chad! @Chad, that is the spirit! You are a great sport's man. You put your best foot forward and don't let the external factors affect you. You knew from the on set that you were in a "bigger than life competition", so to say, and how Phelps wanted the 20th Olympic gold and how he wanted to settle the 2012 score. There's never an absolute win that one can say they're entitled to, you destroyed that myth in 2012 when you came first. Your coming second doesn't damped us (SA) cause your performance clearly states that you were not clouded by external factors and that you put your best foot forward; and you seized the moment. We know that Phelps Olympic record speaks for its self and you know it too but you didn't left that affect you. You surely made it not easy for Phelps, as you were behind him and determined through and through to do what you came to do in Rio.

Shira Tollman
Shira Tollman

Go Chad!!!! South Africa loves you\U0001f1ff\U0001f1e6\U0001f1ff\U0001f1e6