Chad le Clos has won gold, but its his dad, Bert, who has won the hearts of television viewers across the world. While South Africans are still revelling in Chad’s Olympic win, there are none happier than his parents, especially his dad.
Moments after his son took gold in the men’s 200m butterfly final, beating US swimmer Michael Phelps by 0.05 seconds on Tuesday night, cameras turned to an overjoyed and emotional Bert le Clos among the spectators. Holding up the SA flag, he gesticulated wildly, shouting: “Unbelievable!”
Overcome with emotion, he repeated his disbelief six more times in the space of 90 seconds.
His son had won the race in 1min 52.96sec, beating Phelps and Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda, who took third place
While watching images of his son walking around the pool after his win, Bert, during an interview with the BBC, again shouted: “Unbelievable, unbelievable!” and “Look at him, he’s beautiful, I love you.”
Le Clos told the BBC’s Clare Balding: “I have never been so happy in my life… It’s like I have died and gone to heaven. Whatever happens in my life from now on, it is plain sailing.”
On Wednesday, AdelaideNow, the website for The Advertiser in Adelaide, introduced Le Clos sen to its readers, saying: “Meet Bert le Clos. He just won the Olympic Games. He is London 2012.”
It described Le Clos’s reaction to his son’s win as “uncontrolled, limitless joy” and “a sight to behold in today’s hugely rehearsed and restrained media environment”.
“He’s like Sally Pearson at Beijing in 2008 (‘oh my god, did you see that?’), but with more husk and more rust on his voice. We counted seven ‘unbelievables’ in 90 seconds,” it said.
On Twitter, users across the globe tweeted about Le Clos’s reaction. Twitter user @VaughanCricket said: “Bert Le Clos... You have just made my night… Outstanding TV… ”
Another, @CarisaColey said: “Bert Le Clos is my new hero. What a man, so proud and unashamed to show how proud he is”, while @thatmadcow tweeted: “Bert Le Clos. You are a legend. Your love and pride for your son Chad is heart warming. Well done”.
Others included: @RogerHighfield: “Is there an Olympic event for proud dads? Give the gold to Bert Le Clos”; @Jonty Foster: “Bert le Clos: Olympic Legend!” and @Chris Drake: “Bert Le Clos. What a lovely bloke!!”
And Bert’s joy, along with that felt by the rest of the Le Clos family, is expected to continue for some time. Following Chad’s win, his uncle Rob, who watched the final with family at the Stella Sports Club in Glenwood, Durban, said there would be a huge celebration when Chad arrived back.
“Our family is huge so it will be a party indeed,” he said.
Cape Argus Feature Staff