Le Clos would welcome Phelps return

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iol spt feb23 Le Clos AP File picture: Chad Le Clos has been hearing the talk that 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps may come out of retirement to make a run at the 2016 Rio Games. Photo by: Michael Sohn/AP

Sochi, Russia – Nobody has a better tan at the Winter Olympics than Chad Le Clos.

The Olympic champion swimmer from South Africa visited Sochi on the final weekend of the games. Le Clos trains outdoors and his deep tan made him a standout among the crowds.

Le Clos has been hearing the talk that 18-time gold medalist Michael Phelps may come out of retirement to make a run at the 2016 Rio Games.

“The rumor is obviously trickling down all the way to South Africa. Everyone is talking about it,” he said Saturday. “It would be great for the sport if he comes back. It would be great for me. I do welcome the challenge from anybody. If you want to win a gold medal, you want to beat the best.”

Le Clos did just that at the 2010 London Games, edging Phelps by five-hundredths of a second to win the 200-meter butterfly.

“I gave him one of his very few silvers,” he said.

Phelps turned the tables in the 100 fly, beating Le Clos, who took silver.

If Phelps returns, it's likely the 28-year-old would swim fewer events than the seven he tackled in London.

Le Clos is experimenting with an expanded program this year. The 21-year-old swimmer plans to add the 50 fly, 200 and 400 individual medleys, and 200 freestyle and 200 backstroke to his racing schedule, starting with South Africa's national trials in April.

Le Clos' biggest meets this year will be the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, in late July, and the World Cup series in the fall.

“I want to try and just see how many I can handle,” he said during an appearance for sponsor Omega in Sochi. “The Commonwealth Games will give me a good indication. I'm not the kind of guy that likes to swim races and come fourth or fifth. I want to be among the medals and I want to be competitive.” – Sapa-AP


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