Chad’s dad ad campaign

By admin
15 February 2013

We meet the irrepressible father of Olympic hero Chad le Clos

It was just a question of time. Bert had to become famous. It had nothing to do with luck or coincidence. It was destined: one day everyone would know his name.

This sort of personality isn’t suited to a life of anonymity; it boils over and bursts out. Bert’s fame, you realise when you shake his hand, was an absolute inevitability.

And now it’s happened. Maybe a little late (he’s 55), but he’s arrived – and everyone now knows who Bert le Clos is.

Yes, he jokes in his trademark gravelly voice, he’s now even more famous than his swimming sensation son. In July last year Chad le Clos (20) stunned the world when he beat American swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps in the 200-metre butterfly, winning Olympic gold for an ecstatic South Africa.

Bert was overwhelmed. People around the world watched footage over and over of him praising his son in that deep voice, exclaiming how “unbelievable” his “beautiful, beautiful boy” is.

His fondness for the word “unbelievable” and the fact that he repeatedly shouted it after his son’s Olympic victory has contributed to his star status. A SuperSport advertisement has Bert singing Nat King Cole’s hit song Unforgettable, but replaced with the word “unbelievable”.

He has it here, Bert says, using the remote to search for the ad which appears almost life-size on the TV screen. “Look at that fat pig,” he says, pointing at the image of him in a tuxedo.

He might make light of his fame but it’s actually what Bert has wanted his whole life, his wife, Geraldine, tells us later.

Read more of Marida Fitzpatrick’s interview with Bert in YOU 21 February 2013.

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