Back to where it all began – Chad le Clos at the Youth Olympic Games
‘It’s an honour’ said Chad le Clos on being a YOG Ambassador. The South African swimmer is no stranger to the YOG environment, having won five medals in Singapore, he went on to realise his dream in London 2012 picking up a gold medal at the Olympic Games in the 200m butterfly – something he doesn’t think he could have achieved had it not been for his experience in Singapore.
“If it wasn’t for competing in the 2010 Singapore YOG, I wouldn’t have achieved my success at the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the World Championship in 2011 and at London 2012 – no doubt about it” he said.
The Olympic Champion wanted to maximise his Nanjing 2014 experience and started the day at the pool where he gave some lucky swimmers and some of his biggest fans a master class on diving, the fly-kick, finishing and some top tips on how to get the edge over the competition. The session finished of course with a race which was a very close call with his future contenders!
Keen to spend some time with the athletes and soaking up the atmosphere in the village, Chad had lunch in the dining hall followed by a quick motivational chat with the South African team ahead of their competition where he encouraged them to make the most of this experience and enjoy it.
While his coach Graham Hill was busy joining the cooking workshop, Chad did a tour of the ‘Learn and Share’ tent to check out some of the fun activities on offer for the athletes when they are not competing. Stopping by the pledge wall he wrote a message to the athletes, ‘Believe in yourself when others are doubtful. Dream big!’
Next stop was the Nanjing 2014 Sports Lab to check out the new showcased sports of sport climbing, roller sports, skateboarding and wushu. The latter he tried out a few moves of with an expert coach, but soon realised he is much better at swimming!
The evening was spent watching and cheering on the athletes at the swimming with IOC President Thomas Bach followed by a ‘Chat with Champions’ session with fellow Olympic champions; hurdler Liu Xiang and triathlete Emma Snowsill who are here in Nanjing to mentor the athletes. Coach Graham Hill also joined in the chat which was attended by hundreds of athletes and media.