Le Clos: Gold was my destiny
Johannesburg - Beating United States swimmer Michael Phelps was his destiny, 200m butterfly Olympic gold winner Chad le Clos said on Thursday.
"There are many ways of thinking about how I won that gold, and when I watch that race, even now... I also shed a tear thinking about what went into that race and what it meant to me," he said at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit here.
"Eight years ago when I was a 12-year-old boy who looked up to Michael Phelps as a hero, or more like a god... I didn't think I'd be up here talking about beating him. My coach Graham Hill and I call it destiny."
Le Clos was brought on stage as a surprise guest during an address by University of Cape Town sports professor Tim Noakes
. The swimmer was greeted with a standing ovation as footage of his victory played on the hall's screens.
Noakes replaced Desmond Tutu
at the summit when the Archbishop dropped out in protest at former British prime minister Tony Blair's attendance.
Le Clos said he studied Phelps's swims to find a way to beat him.
"I've played Michael's swims since 2004, and I'd like to say I fell in love with him. Not like that [romantically]... Ladies are my thing," he quipped.
"We studied every single race... I had to beat him at his own game."
Noakes said earlier that most athletes won because of a psychological advantage. They believed and visualised that they could win, and had the help of good coaches who urged them on.