Just how hard it is to train for the Olympics? Alicia Pillay-Wagiet chatted to multiple-Olympic medallist CHAD LE CLOS about just what he does to get ready for the games.
Given Le Clos’ friendly and positive disposition it’s not hard to see why he has been so successful. He made easy work qualifying for Rio, as two weeks ago he made the required time in the heats in all three events in the pool. He delighted his local fans in his hometown of Durban.
However, the preparation for the games does not end there. If anything, it only begins. Le Clos will travel to Europe where he will take part in more meets before the sports showcase gets underway in August.
Le Clos has reached celebrity status throughout South Africa, but still feels it’s easier to compete overseas than it is on home soil.
“It’s great having support and having the fans that I have but it’s hard because I come here (to nationals) and everyone wants to talk to me. The mindset is hard to get right, here I am talking to people. At the world champs I am in a bubble and I am racing. It’s a different kind of focus for me. But it is a great crowd and a great feeling to be here (at home).”
Focus is the key word for Le Clos ahead of the trip to Brazil. Time to hang out with friends when is preparing for such a big event is very limited as most of his time and energy goes into his preparation.
We often see swimmers with their earphones in listening to songs on their iPods ahead of their races. What music gets Le Clos in the zone? According to him, it’s a little bit of everything. “I’ve got a nice playlist which my friend made for me. I listen to different music, when I am chilling I listen to old school like Elton John and Blink 182. When I am racing I like Eminem, a little more rap and hip hop.”
And what do medal-winners eat?
When it comes to food, he says it’s nothing fancy. There is always steak on the menu for the athlete.
Le Clos says he also isn’t one for superstitions ahead of a race. However, he does like having his brother around as his good-luck charm.
No doubt he, along with Cameron van der Burgh. will be South Africa’s best chances of winning medals at the games. And he seems pretty focused on this end goal.
“I don’t care about the time, about the events, I want to win all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s nationals, a small meet or the Olympics. I just want to be the best I can be.”
But for Le Clos, being the best that he can be doesn’t stop when he gets out of the swimming pool. “I feel the kids need good role models to look up to and for me hopefully I can be that guy.”
The Rio Olympics get underway on 5th August where Chad Le Clos will not only look to replicate, but better his medal haul from the previous event in London.
Alicia Pillay-Wagiet is a multimedia journalist, with experience in broadcast, online and social media, specialising in sports reporting. She loves all and every sport, but is especially passionate about soccer, rugby and golf.