Le Clos sets sights on Tokyo glory after Gold Coast treble

South Africa’s Chad le Clos could just become the next Michael Phelps

Chad Le Clos
Chad Le Clos
Image: Streeter Lecka

South Africa’s Chad le Clos could just become the next Michael Phelps after making history at the Commonwealth Games.

The 25-year-old shot to fame after taking down the American swimming legend at the 2012 Olympics, and proved over the past week on the Gold Coast that he will be a force to be reckoned with at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Le Clos became the first male swimmer to win three consecutive Commonwealth gold medals in the same event when he romped to victory in the 200m butterfly, and followed that with silver in the 100m freestyle. He also completed a first Commonwealth butterfly treble, finishing the week as the most decorated swimmer in Games history.

In a moment of exuberance after his crushing triumph in the 200m fly, Le Clos whooped: “No one’s done the triple before so – Michael Phelps of Commonwealth!”

Never the shrinking violet in a sport full of uber-serious athletes, Le Clos nonetheless chose his words carefully after claiming 4x100m medley relay bronze on the final night.

“I was joking when I said that,” the pin-up, who competed in seven Commonwealth Games events, said.
“Michael is a legend, he’s the greatest of all time. I want to be my own self and just be the best I can be. “I’ve always prided myself on racing the best,” Le Clos, who tied for silver behind Scotland’s Duncan Scott in the 100m freestyle with Australia’s Olympic champion, Kyle Chalmers, said.

“My two best races were the 100m and tonight’s relay.

“I got to race the world’s best in the 100m free and I didn’t win. I was disappointed, but I’m proud to step up against the world’s best.”

With Phelps gone, the stage is set for Le Clos to shine at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, although he faces a serious threat from American Caeleb Dressel.

“We’ll see what happens at the Olympic Games,” he said.

“There’s a lot of youngsters coming through like Dressel, obviously the Aussies in the freestyle, Duncan Scott, James Guy.”