Four years ago at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Chad le Clos stunned the world when he beat Michael Phelps to an Olympic gold medal in the 200m butterfly. His father Bert, Chad’s best friend and mentor, captured hearts all over the planet with his emotional response to Chad’s victory on the BBC.
Chad goes head-to-head with Phelps again this summer, with their races the most anticipated of the Games, but the journey to Rio has been beset with family pain. Bert has been fighting prostate cancer since his diagnosis in 2015; and his wife Geraldine, Chad’s mum, is fighting breast cancer for the second time, and underwent a double mastectomy in May this year.
Revealing the news in a statement released on Monday, Chad said:
The Rio Olympics are just a few weeks away but I can confirm that both my parents are fighting cancer.
My Mum Geraldine has breast cancer which has returned since her remission in 2010. She has recently undergone a double mastectomy and is now having chemo. My Dad Bert developed prostate cancer and has also undergone an operation in late June.
It has not been an easy time but I am training hard for Rio. More than anything else I want them to win their battles. I also hope that they will be in Rio.
I would ask my friends in the media to respect their recovery. I will also not be doing any media prior to Rio.
“UNBELIEVABLE” is the story of Chad and Bert’s road to Rio, a story of extraordinary emotion, incredible commitment and burning desire for Olympic gold. A OneToWatch production, U
NBELIEVABLE has been directed by Sir Matthew Pinsent, himself a four time Olympic Gold medallist and BBC broadcaster. More recently the driving force behind the BBC’s Olympic Dreams series, Matthew has captured the highs, lows and everything in between as Chad chases his dream to Rio de Janeiro.
“UNBELIEVABLE: The Chad le Clos Story” will air on SuperSport in Africa, Eurosport in the Europe, and on Chad’s official website on 24 and 25 July 2016.
“We have been part of a documentary by the legendary British Olympic rower Sir Matthew Pinsent following my preparations for Rio for the past year and a half. Obviously we did not know any of this was going to happen when we started filming. This has meant the crew have seen every part of my family life, including seeing my father at his absolute best, but also how he is being hit by this disease. Mum and Dad could have stopped the filming but they agreed for it to continue. That’s just who they are.”
Swim News is courtesy of Prof Sports.