Chad le Clos (Supplied)
Rio de Janeiro - Chad le Clos has spoken for the first time since losing his Olympic 200m butterfly crown to Michael Phelps and described the swim as the worst of his career.
Le Clos finished in 4th on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, SA time) as Phelps marched on to win what was his 20th Olympic gold medal (he has since moved up to 21).
The hours following that race were gutting for Le Clos, and he confirmed on Thursday that he was on the verge of tears.
"It’s the worst performance of my career. There will never be a worse performance than that," Le Clos said.
After the race, Sport24 had spoken to Le Clos's dad Bert, who confirmed that the Le Clos' "only cry when we win, not when we lose".
"Like my dad said, we don’t cry for losing, we cry for winning," Chad said.
"As much as I wanted to cry – I really did, I must be honest – I didn’t.
"Worse things have happened to me this year. This is not even the fifth-worse thing that’s happened to me in the last few months. I will take it to the chin, assess it and move on."
Le Clos's parents are both currently fighting cancer.
He could not put the poor performance down to anything in particular.
"I am in the best shape of my life. We have to do better," he said.
"I let a lot of people down. I let my country down. I felt like I should definitely have won that race.
"It makes me a lot hungrier.
"In my mind I was winning. With 10 meters to go I was winning. It was the first time in my life that it’s ever been like that. I wasn’t nervous."
Le Clos has advanced to the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly, which he will swim on Thursday night (Friday morning, SA time).
Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...