Le Clos confident of beating Phelps again in Rio

Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:53am EDT
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By Julian Linden

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Chad le Clos, one of the few men to have beaten Michael Phelps at the Olympics, has thrown down the challenge to his old rival, urging him to get back into training so they can have a rematch at Rio in 2016.

The South African pulled one of the biggest upsets of the 2012 London Olympics when he got his hands on the wall ahead of Phelps after a dog fight to win the gold medal in the 200 meters butterfly.

When Phelps retired after London, Le Clos easily won the 100-200m butterfly double at last year's world championships, but the prospect of another showdown with the greatest swimmer of all time has got him excited.

"I really, really hope that he and his team decide to swim in Rio, I really believe it will be great," Le Clos told Reuters on Friday.

"It's added motivation for me... with Michael back, it's really sparked my fire, so to speak."

Phelps and Le Clos had another ferocious battle in London, with the American coming out on top in the 100m butterfly, an event he has won at three successive Olympics.

But the 22-year-old Le Clos has been working hard on his speed since then to avenge that loss and believes he can not only win both events next time, but can also break both world records, currently held by Phelps.

"I believe by Rio, I should be in peak condition," said Le Clos, currently in Singapore for the final round of swimming's annual World Cup series.   Continued...

South Africa's Chad le Clos celebrates winning in the men's 200m Butterfly final at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, July 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young