Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
There were no words to describe the euphoria of Chad le Clos’s family and more than 100 fans on Tuessday night when the Durban swimming star beat the odds to win his race by a split second and give SA its second gold medal of the Olympic Games.
Le Clos’s older brother, Justin, and sister, Bianca Matos, along with extended family and friends, all in supporters’ T-shirts, were at the Stella Sports Club in Glenwood to watch his race.
Chad’s other brother, Jordan, 14, was with his parents Geraldine and Bert at the Olympics Games in London.
There wasn’t a dry eye at Stella when Le Clos appeared on the television screen. The tears flowed when the race started, accompanied by screams and cheers when it became clear that Le Clos stood a fighting chance.
The final few seconds had everyone on their feet, jumping and willing the swimmer to the finish – and, in an instant, it was over and the noise was deafening.
The family could barely speak they were so overcome with |emotion.
Matos described the feeling as “insane”, and said the support from across the world had been overwhelming.
“It has been an emotional day. We are so proud of him and we are not going to sleep tonight.”
She said they could not wait to see him at the airport and give him a big hug.
The family designed supporters’ T-shirts when Le Clos qualified for the Olympics in April.
“In the run-up to his events in London there were so many requests for the T-shirts that we made for all shapes and sizes, even for toddlers. My dad joked that if Chad won a gold, we would double the price of the T-shirts,” she said.
Last night the atmosphere in the club was electric with everyone telling a story of how they were linked to the swimming star.
Brother Justin, 28, paced outside before the event. He joked and made a little conversation, but his nerves were clearly overwhelming him. After the race, his eyes puffy, he said it was an unbelievable moment for the family and the country.
“He has the heart of a lion, anyone would have been as nervous as ever seeing Michael Phelps’s performance in the semi-final. But Chad focused, this was his dream. He lived his life for this moment and he achieved it.”
Justin said the family in Durban had decided not to call Chad yesterday as they wanted him to focus completely on the race.
Earlier in the day Westville Boys’ High paid tribute to their old boy – chanting a powerful warcry in his honour. Westville principal Trevor Hall said it was a proud moment for the school and the country.