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11 Years After Destroying Michael Phelps at Olympics, Arch Rival Drops Shocking Revelation to Swimming World

Published 09/30/2023, 7:25 AM EDT

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The swimming world witnessed a major upset at the 2012 London Olympics. While swimming icon Michael Phelps ended up securing 4 Olympic gold medals, he fell short in the men’s 200m butterfly final event. Nobody could have predicted that South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who had the odds against his favor, could beat the legendary Michael Phelps. Nevertheless, le Clos ended up winning an Olympic gold medal against Phelps, and during the same Olympics, he also secured a silver medal behind Phelps in the men’s 100m butterfly.

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Four years later, le Clos was once again competing against Phelps, and at the 2016 Rio Olympics, both swimmers even shared a silver medal in a stunning 100m butterfly final. While Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, Chad le Clos is South Africa’s most decorated Olympian of all time and as the 2023 Swimming World Cup is almost here, le Clos recently revealed a shocking revelation about his 2023 season.

Chad le Clos sheds light on his 2023 season


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The 2023 Swimming World Cup will take place in three legs with the tournament being held in Berlin, Athens, and Budapest. According to an Instagram story by the World Aquatics, Chad le Clos revealed that the upcoming tournament will be his 13th edition of participation. He also holds the record for most gold medals and overall medals won at the Swimming World Cup. During the course of his career, the South African has won 151 gold, 55 silver, and 16 bronze medals in the Swimming World Cup.

Chad le Clos further stated that he is excited about all the venues but is particularly looking forward to competing in Athens, where the men’s South African 400m freestyle relay team not only won gold but also set a new world record at the 2004 Olympics. The most decorated South African Olympian also said, “It’s been a difficult time. We’ve had a bit of sickness this year, unfortunately, so this World Cup will be more of a stepping stone toward the Olympics next year.” Chad le Clos may have been a constant rival for Michael Phelps but off the pool, he also faced similar challenges as Phelps when it came to the conversation of mental health.


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Chad le Clos also struggled with mental health like his rival Michael Phelps

Chad le Clos’ career has been great so far and has resulted in a number of accolades, most notably his Olympic win against swimming legend Michael Phelps. But similar to Michael Phelps, the South African has also struggled with his mental health. Last year, le Clos revealed that African males usually do not talk about mental health and it is still a stigmatized subject. This became a huge problem for him at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where he did not win a single medal. In an Olympic report, he also added, “I knew there was a problem when I walked out for an Olympic final and I was so numb from the past seven months that I couldn’t really feel any emotion. It was almost like you could cut me, I wouldn’t feel it.”

“He Didn’t Like Me”: Michael Phelps Gave a Fitting Response to Chad le Clos’s Blunt Words in 2016


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As for Chad le Clos’ rivalry with Michael Phelps, it is a widely known fact in the realm of swimming. However, with Phelps’ retirement, things have changed and as the 2023 Swimming World Cup beckons, the South African swimmer will be aiming to increase his winning streak in the competition ahead of next year’s 2024 Paris Olympics.

Watch this story: “It Was Insane”: Swimming Legend Michael Phelps Proclaims the “Best Relay Race of All Time” While Getting Nostalgia

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Written by:

Vaibhav Singh Bisht


One take at a time

Vaibhav Singh Bisht is an Olympics sports writer for EssentiallySports. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication with a specialization in Advertising and Corporate Communication. Vaibhav has experience working in the Public Relations industry previously.
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