South Africans to watch in Rio: Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos (AFP)
Chad le Clos (AFP)

Cape Town - For many, the memory of Chad le Clos edging Michael Phelps to win gold in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 London Olympics is still as vivid as ever. 

It was one of South Africa's greatest ever Olympic moments and it was the beginning of everything for the Westville Boys' High product.

His life has never been the same since. 

Le Clos was instantly famous, and he has been South Africa's poster boy for swimming for the last four years. 

This time around, there is an air of expectation surrounding Le Clos. 

He makes his way to Rio this year knowing that he is up against it. 

He is ranked third in the world in the 100m butterfly and only fourth in the world in the 200m butterfly. 

Ever since London, Le Clos has been a marked man and that will definitely be the case in Rio. 

Phelps, now 31, has qualified for the Games and he has been vocal on his desire to reverse the result of the 200m butterfly four years ago. 

That race promises to be one of the highlights of Rio. 

Le Clos has had an up-and-down four years, form-wise. But, under the tutelage of Graham Hill, he is backing himself to be at his fastest when it matters most. 

Le Clos is also going through a tough time personally. 

He recently opened up on dealing with both of his parents battling cancer.

Bert le Clos, who won the affection of the world with his 'Unbelievable' interview after Le Clos's London gold, is battling prostate cancer. 

Geraldine le Clos, meanwhile, has resumed her fight with breast cancer.

Anybody who has followed Le Clos's career knows that he has always been extremely close to his parents, and this latest battle is clearly having an impact. 

Le Clos released a statement this week saying that he would not be doing any interviews in the build-up to Rio as he deals with his preparation as well as his personal issues. 

The realistic South African medal hopes in Rio are hardly abundant, and that coupled with Le Clos's London success means that we will be watching him with bated breath.

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