Chad le Clos (Getty)
Rio de Janeiro - Chad le Clos is embracing his rivalry with American legend Michael Phelps ahead of Tuesday night's (Wednesday morning) 200m butterfly showdown at the Rio Olympics.
It all started back in 2012 in London, where the 20-year-old Le Clos stunned his boyhood hero to win gold in the event and announce himself on the world stage.
Now, four years later, Le Clos is not the starry-eyed kid he once was.
In fact, before his semi-final on Monday night Le Clos was not holding back in the 'ready room' as he jabbed and danced his way around Phelps.
"Oh, did they catch that? Dammit," Le Clos joked.
"It is what it is. It can get tense in there."
Phelps's reaction was priceless as he stared down Le Clos with a disgusted look on his face.
Le Clos was all smiles as he continued his bouncy pre-swim routine.
"From my side there is no real tension. I have no emotion when I'm racing," he continued.
"I've trained really hard for this and of course there's a huge rivalry between Michael and myself.
"I have a lot of respect for him. Last year there were definitely spoken words ... a lot of it was misquoted. At the end of the day, I'm a racer. I race to win and I want to beat Michael and he wants to beat me."
But, judging by the heats and semi-finals, Le Clos's main competition may not even come in the form of Phelps with the Hungarian duo of Laszlo Cseh and Tamas Kenderesi well in the mix.
"Like I said before the Games, it's me and seven other guys. Nobody expected me to win four years ago so I'd be an idiot to say it's just and Michael or just me and Laszlo (Cseh)," Le Clos said.
"I have nothing but respect for these competitors. This is a tough stage to be on. Tomorrow night ... may the best man win."
Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...