The greatest sportsmen in the world have a very large following of fans around the world. In most cases they are ordinary people, but not always. Sometimes they can also be champions of other disciplines. This is the case, for example, of the famous Olympic swimmer Chad le Clos, who remembered his 'fanboy' moment with 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal at the last Rio 2016 Olympics.
The South African swimmer was one of the main superstars of that edition of the Games, where he won the silver medal in both the 200 freestyle and the 200 butterfly, without forgetting the two medals he had been able to win during the previous London 2012 Olympics (when he also defeated his majesty Michael Phelps).
Le Clos had never hidden his admiration for Nadal, enough to dream of meeting him one day. In a long interview with MARCA Claro, Chad recalled that fortuitous exchange of courtesies in the Olympic village four years ago.
Chad le Clos on Rafael Nadal
“I remember that in 2016 I was eating one day at the table, which is very long, and like a five or six meters from me was Rafael Nadal" - Chad le Clos said.
“I see him and I say: ‘It is not possible, it cannot be him. It is not really Rafael. So my coach and I approached him and said: ‘Excuse me, can we take a picture?' 'He says, 'Sure!' And obviously his Spanish accent is heard.
We took a 'selfie' with him while we ate, it's crazy," Le Clos reminisced. The Olympic Village is known for offering athletes the opportunity to meet outside their respective disciplines. Absolute legends of the caliber of Usain Bolt, Michaels Phelps, Roger Federer and Andy Murray had the chance to share some moments with rising stars like Missy Franklin, Briana Williams, Michael Norman and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The next edition of the Games will be held in 2021 due to the Coronavirus emergency. Tennis stopped in early March as the coronavirus pandemic took a hold of the world, and it is not due to resume until August. That meant an unprecedented spell of downtime for players, who were unable to train or rehab injuries due to social distancing restrictions ad local lockdowns.
Once the clay swing resumes with the Madrid Open, the Mallorcan will be back to travelling, playing and (probably) winning.