Swim champion Le Clos reveals both parents have cancer

Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:10pm EDT
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(Reuters) - South Africa's big Olympic swimming hope Chad Le Clos has revealed that both his parents are battling cancer as he prepares for next month's Rio Games.

The 200 meters butterfly champion, whose father Bert became a media sensation at the London 2012 Games for his exuberant reaction to his son's gold, said he hoped they would be accompanying him to Brazil.

"My mum Geraldine has breast cancer which has returned since her remission in 2010," Le Clos, who beat American Michael Phelps to gold four years ago, said in a statement.

"She has recently undergone a double mastectomy and is now having chemo. My dad Bert developed prostate cancer and has also undergone an operation in late June.

"It has not been an easy time but I am training hard for Rio. More than anything else I want them to win their battles," said the 24-year-old, who is also the 100m butterfly world champion and Olympic silver medalist.

The showdown in the pool with 18-times Olympic champion Phelps is set to be a highlight of the Rio meet.

Le Clos has booked a spot in five different events after securing required qualifying times at the South African swimming championship in April, but whether he will feature in all of them is unclear.

He said last year that he planned to take on Phelps in the 100m and 200m butterfly and freestyle races at the Aug. 5-21 Games but has since scrapped the 100m freestyle.

"Thinking about what has happened to both my parents has helped a lot with my motivation," he told the BBC.   Continued...

Chad le Clos of South Africa swims in a men's 100m butterfly heat at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, August 7, 2015.     REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth