Daley and Le Clos making a splash in Rio
All eyes were on the aquatics competitions on Day 3 as Tom Daley and Chad Le Clos became the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athletes to win Olympic medals at consecutive Games – and there could be more to come.
Both athletes had been star attractions at the Olympic Games London 2012, with Le Clos memorably beating USA superstar Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly and Daley delivering a bronze medal in diving’s individual 10m platform event in front of a hugely expectant home crowd.
And on Monday evening in Rio, the pair – who competed in the inaugural edition of the YOG in Singapore in 2010 – were on the podium once again.
Great Britain’s Daley teamed up with Dan Goodfellow to win bronze in the men’s synchronised 10m platform at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre. Showing remarkable composure in the very last dive of the event, the British duo held their nerve to edge ahead of Germany’s Patrick Hausding and Sascha Klein.
China’s Lin Yue and Chen Aisen sealed their country’s fourth successive gold medal in the event, finishing almost 40 points ahead of silver medallists David Boudia and Steele Johnson, from the USA.
“Going into the last round there is always pressure. When it’s the Olympic Games, multiply that by a million,” Daley said after winning bronze. “I'm really happy and I know Dan’s happy with the way today went. We only got put together as a partnership back in October.
“The weird thing about the Olympic Games is that any colour of medal that you get means more than any other medal that you can win.”
Le Clos was also in high spirits after winning a silver medal in the men’s 200m freestyle behind China’s Sun Yang.
Racing from lane one, the South African burst out of the blocks at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium to open up a sizeable lead. Le Clos was eventually overhauled by Sun but held on to finish second, narrowly head of American Conor Dwyer.
“It was a crazy race,” he admitted later. “The tactics (were) definitely to go out hard. It was the first time I have ever actually gone out that hard in any race. Usually I come from behind.
“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.”
It was a night of firsts for Le Clos who not only became the most decorated YOG athlete at the Olympic Games (with a total of three medals), but also the first African swimmer to win a medal in the 200m freestyle, setting an African record in the process.
And his evening’s work was not finished there. Immediately after the final, the 24-year-old was back in the pool for the 200m butterfly semi-final. The defending Olympic champion brushed aside any fatigue to qualify for tonight’s final before sending out a warning to his rivals: “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 in the last 50m.”
With Le Clos also set to compete in the 100m butterfly and Daley hoping for another medal in the individual 10m platform, the Rio 2016 success story could get even better for these two YOG athletes.