South African Chad le Clos, who stunned Michael Phelps in the 200-metre butterfly to win Olympic gold by 0.05 seconds, said he tried to emulate the American. Phelps was leading Le Clos by 0.58 seconds at the last turn, but the South African le Clos managed to overtake Phelps with his last few strokes.
Le Clos said that he has always admired Phelps. “Ever since 2004 when he won six gold medals, he has been an inspiration and role model. I have all his major races on my computer, I think I have watched the 100m butterfly Beijing final, when he beat Cavic by 0.01 seconds, a million times. I have it in seven different languages.” He said that he studied the races and learned from them. “Watching all Michael’s races I know he finishes strong. It sounds crazy, but I actually thought I was Michael at the last turn,” Le Clos said.
“When I turned I looked at him and there was a trigger point I just thought I could try to do something special. The last 25 metres came in slow-mo and I just remember thinking to myself and my coach saying ‘keep it long and make sure you don’t shorten up.'”
Le Clos just managed to touch the pad before Phelps, but the South African said he did not really know how he did it. “To be honest, I think I am a bit lucky.”