South African snatches Olympic gold medal from the best swimmer of our time.
In what could easily be rated as the most thrilling swimming event of the evening, South Africa’s Chad le Clos powered his way from third position in the last five metres of the 200m men’s butterfly to clinch his country’s second gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. He pipped his hero and Olympics overachiever Michael Phelps, who bobbed up instead of reaching for the pad in what TV commentators labelled “a rookie mistake committed by the greatest swimmer of all time”. In all fairness, credit should go to le Clos who tried to match the American’s speed throughout the race and stretched at the end as Phelps went up.
Le Clos, who joins compatriot Cameron van der Burgh in his country’s medal standings, told BBC news that: “That’s been my dream, ever since I was a little boy. Michael is my hero. I just wanted to race in the final and now I've won it. I can’t believe it, I really can’t.”
But it wasn’t all lost to Phelps, as he stole the show later in the evening, leading the USA’s charge to claim gold in the men’s 4 x 200m relay. The gold was his 19th Olympic medal and it helped him surpass Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. SA finished a distant seventh place in the relay, and earlier another Proteas hopeful, Gideon Louw, bombed out in the semis of the 100m freestyle.
Other lacklustre performances by SA yesterday included Banyana Banyana’s 0-0 draw with Fifa Women’s World Cup champions Japan and SA women’s hockey team, who recorded a second consecutive loss at the hands of New Zealand, following a 7-1 defeat to Argentina in their opener on Sunday. Banyana who finished bottom of the group, with just one point, are probably on their way home. Yet with two gold medals from our golden boys SA currently stands at tenth on the medals table.