CNN: Chad le Clos, the Golden Boy Who Shocked Michael Phelps

Photo Courtesy:Joao Marc Bosch

As part of its Human to Hero series, CNN has shined the light on competitive swimming with a feature on South African Olympic gold medalist Chad le Clos.  CNN details the time that le Clos shocked the swimming world with a win against Michael Phelps in the 200 fly at the 2012 London Olympics.

“My dream was always to swim like Michael Phelps so when I raced against him in the final it was actually a crazy feeling,” le Clos tells CNN’s Human to Hero series.

“When I touched at 150 (meters) I think I was 1.5 meters behind him. When I turned I actually looked at him underwater and I thought I was him — I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but I saw myself as him going past someone else.”

“I remembered how he used to come off the last turn and, you know, smoke everyone … I thought, he’s done this for so many years and I remembered that when I was swimming. I don’t know what it was but it was magical.”

Le Clos, who hasn’t seen much competition in his best strokes since ascending the throne in 2012, hopes for an Olympic rematch with Phelps at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I really, really hope that he and his team decide to swim in Rio, I really believe it will be great,” le Clos said. “It’s added motivation for me … with Michael back, it’s really sparked my fire, so to speak. I don’t think he will be worse in Rio, I think he’ll be back where he wants to be. He’s a champion in all respects but I believe I can beat him again.”



  1. Kyle Mclean

    Daniel Treacy, Andrew Affleck

  2. avatar
    Bill Bell

    Before London I and presumably most other swim fans would have said had two chances of winning, slimski and noneski, with slimski already having walked out the doorski.

    Well he obviously dooed it but if the GOAT is on his game @ Rio I don’t think miracles will happen twice in a row! Just like @ what happened to GOAT 1 (Spitz) @ Mexico City and then four years later in Munich.

    Yes, Spitz was older, wiser and more mature @ Munich and still a relatively young man in his early 20s and Phelps’ll have just turned 31 @ Rio. but that loss’ll have gnawed at him for four long years and he’ll want to show the world it was a fluke.

    Don’t bet against him.

Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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