South Africa’s most decorated Olympic swimmer Chad Le Clos has been announced by the International Olympic Committee as an Ambassador for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Buenos Aires 2018. The 25-year-old sensationally defeated his childhood hero, Olympic legend Michael Phelps, in the 200m butterfly at London 2012.
Speaking about his appointment at the FINA World Cup in Singapore, where the South African burst onto the international scene at the inaugural YOG in 2010, he said: “The Youth Olympics hold a special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for the YOG, I wouldn’t have achieved this success, and to be sharing this news here in Singapore where it all started for me is incredible.
LeClos is odds-on to win the FINA (Fédération International de Natation) Swimming World Cup 2017 overall title in Singapore this weekend (18-19) after winning the Fina World Championships in Budapest this summer followed by victory in the 50m and 200m butterfly earlier this week in Tokyo.
As a highly promising teenager Le Clos showed his potential in the pool back in 2010, winning five medals at the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, another five at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and a 200m butterfly gold at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Dubai, all while he was still at school. The Olympic champion, who agreed to act as an Ambassador for the Nanjing 2014 YOG, had no hesitation in renewing his commitment for the next edition that is set to take place in Buenos Aires from 6-18 of October next year. Almost 4000 athletes from 206 countries, aged 15 to 18, will take part in 32 sports next year.
Following in the footsteps of his self-declared hero Michael Phelps, who acted as a YOG Ambassador for Singapore 2010, Chad Le Clos joins Basketball star Luis Scola and fellow Argentinian hockey Olympic medallist Luciana Aymar as an Ambassador for the Games. The IOC chooses Olympians to be Ambassadors for each edition of the YOG to help reach and inspire young people to get active. Sporting legends such as Usain Bolt, Yelena Isinbaeva, Michelle Wie and Yao Ming have also supported previous summer YOGs. The promotional campaigns are shared with the IOC’s 60 million fans on social media.