It had the makings of a fairy tale – a girl splitting up with her boyfriend months before her matric dance, only to bag one of the country’s most eligible bachelors as a date.
Outside the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg, Chad le Clos lifted his date from the car, took a few steps with the beaming teenager in his arms, then lowered her on to the red carpet.
“It was amazing. I felt like a princess,” Melanie Olhaus said yesterday.
It all started in August when the gold medallist touched down at OR Tambo International Airport en route to Durban after the London Olympic Games, and spotted the matric pupil’s poster: “Chad, will you be my matric dance date?”
The swimming champion replied: “Ja, I think I can do that.”
Le Clos later said in interviews that he was looking forward to the matric dance as he did not get to fully enjoy his own – a swimming commitment had forced him to skip the after party.
Leading up to the matric dance, Le Clos tweeted: “Got my suit today [Wednesday] for the Matric dance, keen for Saturday will post pics after! Any guess wat [sic] colour it is? #chadettes.” On Saturday, he tweeted: “Just finished getting ready for matric dance, very amped!” He later posted a picture of himself posing with Melanie.
At 22.55, Le Clos posted his last Tweet: “Awsome [sic] dance, now time for H20 then LIVE.” These were the clubs he accompanied the teen to for the after party.
“It was amazing. I had so much fun with Chad. Everyone wanted pictures with him… it was hectic [but] I didn’t mind,” said the girl who was dressed by one of the country’s top designers, Gert Johann Coetzee.
“He came with me to the after party. We first went to H20 because we had VIP tickets. We then went to LIVE where all my schoolmates were. He really did enjoy it.” Describing Le Clos as a “good dancer” she said the matric dance celebrity left the party just after 1am as he had to fly to Dubai for a swimming commitment.
Melanie plans to study towards being a dietician at Wits University next year.