Phelps on Chad: The kid has got talent

2016-08-10 08:52

Rio de Janeiro - The men's 200m butterfly had been one of the most hyped-up events of the 2016 Rio Olympics thanks solely to the Michael Phelps v Chad le Clos rivalry. 

Le Clos had stunned Phelps at London in 2012 to win the title, but when the American legend announced that he would be competing in Rio the rivalry was renewed as the rematch loomed. 

On Tuesday night (Wednesday morning, SA time) Phelps took back his crown, winning his 20th Olympic gold medal in the process (he would win his 21st later that evening) while Le Clos was knocked well and truly off his perch. 

Le Clos had been confident in the build-up to the race - his animated warm-up routine in the semi-final clearly getting under Phelps's skin. 

There had also been a media-fuelled war of words between the two in the year leading up to Tuesday's showdown, but in the end it was Phelps who had the final say.

While Le Clos was nowhere to be seen, Phelps addressed a packed press conference room at the Olympic Aquatics Centre. 

It didn't take long before he was asked to talk about his relationship with Le Clos. 

"We're competitors ... I don't want him to win and I'm sure he doesn't want me to win," Phelps said.

"I will say that he is somebody who is a very good racer and he's not afraid to put it on the line. We watched him do that in the 200 freestyle last night ... the kid has got talent.

"I knew exactly where he was for most of the race."

Despite finishing fourth and being visibly gutted, Le Clos made his way over to Phelps to offer his congratulations.

"Him and I haven't spoken that much here. I think that was the first time after the race," said Phelps.

"It's good for the sport to have a competitor like that (Le Clos) to race in multiple events and not just the 200m fly."

The two are likely to meet in the final of the 100m butterfly on Friday, but in terms of the main event 200m butterfly, the rivalry ends in a 1-1 tie.

"I was pretty fired up after that race," Phelps said of his immediate emotions after winning.

"This is a race that I really wanted to win. I really wanted that one back."

Lloyd Burnard is Sport24's correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the 2016 Olympics ...

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