Two nights earlier, Chad le Clos had shockingly out-touched Phelps to beat him in the 200-meter butterfly, a race Phelps hadn’t lost at a major international meet since le Clos was 8 years old. After the race, Chad mentioned to Phelps how excited he was to beat his idol. The next morning, when Phelps relayed this story to coach Bob Bowman, the two of them got emotional.
le Clos had waited for this moment nearly all his life. As a 12-year-old boy in South Africa, he had watched the 2004 Athens Olympics on television, saw an American man named Michael Phelps win six gold medals, and decided right then and there that he would dedicate his life to becoming the greatest swimmer his body would allow.
In the years that followed, he worshipped the American swimmer. He read every article he could get his hands on. He cut out pictures of Phelps. He recorded and watched all of his idol’s races, and then he’d watch them again.
So you can imagine the emotion Friday night — le Clos walked onto the pool deck for the final swim of his 2012 Olympics, and the man walking in front of him was none other than Phelps, who was about to swim the last individual event of his career.
“I just kept thinking I wanted to be up there on that podium,” he said. “I wanted to be in that race with him. I wanted to give him a run for his money. I wanted to make him proud.”
The final times: Phelps, 51.21 seconds; le Clos, 51.44. Less than one-quarter of a second between them. In a way, that’s how it was supposed to end, with Phelps offering one last in-person lesson to a protégée.
For le Clos, the night had only begun. He promised himself that no matter what happened, whether he finished in first or eighth, he would walk over to Phelps and tell him something when he climbed out of the pool and his Olympics were over.
“I told myself I would tell him he was my hero,” le Clos said. “So that’s what I did.”
The moment touched le Clos’ father, Bert, who looked on from the front row of the second deck of the Aquatics Centre. ”It’s like Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali,” said Bert. “I mean, this is my son’s hero. When [Phelps] put his arm around Chad, it’s unbelievable. Michael is the most gentlemanly person in sport. From the le Clos family to the Phelps family, I want them to know how much we appreciate everything Michael did for us. He changed my family’s life.”
YOU HAD TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNEW WE WERE CANADA EH?
The full moon rises through the Olympic Rings, hanging beneath Tower Bridge, during the London 2012 Olympic Games - August 3, 2012.
Congratulations to sixteen-year old Gabby Douglas, the gymnast from Team USA who made history as the first African-American winner of the women’s individual all-around gymnastics final at the 2012 London Olympics!
//JUMPS OFF A CLIFF AND TAKES EVERYONE WITH HER
you just don’t see other nations doing this kind of shit
They don’t have the freedom~
London Olympics to be held in London.
tag your olympics spoilers, fucking shit
She is running in a long-sleeved black shirt and tights, in the middle of summer, outside. And she’s still in the lead.
Tell me again how Muslim women aren’t tough?
HOW THE HELL IS SHE DOING THIS WHILE FASTING
EVERYONE PLEASE REMEMBER ITS RAMADAN
GOD BLESS THE MUSLIMS USUALLY I DONT ADD COMMENTARY BUT FRICK