It’s hard to believe that only three years ago, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos was swimming in one of his first major international meets in Singapore for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG). Now a five-time YOG medallist, an Olympic champion and YOG Ambassador, Chad is back in Singapore, surpassing himself once again with a second world record and two personal bests during this week’s 2013 FINA World Cup event.
“YOG for me was the start of everything”, declared the 21 year-old in an interview with The Straits Times. Evidently remembering the experience as a turning point in his swimming career, Chad recalled fondly: “Coming off not much international experience, heading straight to the YOG, and winning my first gold medal and hearing the national anthem for the first time.”
Since 2010, the Durban native has grown in confidence and has worked relentlessly to improve his strokes. And there is no doubt that Chad has improved, going from YOG athlete to international swimming sensation, following that infamous 200m butterfly race where he beat his childhood idol and fellow YOG Ambassador, Michel Phelps, during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
However, the young sportsman has no intention of stopping there, admitting: “I want to leave a legacy behind.” Despite his recent successes, Chad remains level-headed and believes that he still needs to train “like I’m second best”.
Not wanting to be remembered solely for being “the one that beat Michael Phelps”, Chad is putting in the hours to continue to progress in his swimming. And it seems he’s doing something right as yesterday, the YOG Ambassador smashed his own 200m butterfly world record during the 2013 FINA World Cup series, taking place in Singapore.
Join us in congratulating Chad for his success!
And follow Chad le Clos on the Olympic Athletes' Hub here.