Chad le Clos

Youth Olympic ambassador Chad le Clos reflects on beating Michael Phelps (video)

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A total of 23 athletes at the first Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010 went on win Olympic medals in 2012. Perhaps the most memorable was South African swimmer Chad le Clos, who beat Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly.

Le Clos, now 22, was far more successful at the Youth Olympics, where he won five medals, including silver in the 200m fly.

“It taught me a lot of lessons that I wouldn’t have learned,” le Clos said. “A lot of people told me when I was younger that I wasn’t going to be a great butterfly swimmer. I shouldn’t even try to compete. Look at me a couple years later.”

Le Clos is in Nanjing, China, as an athlete ambassador this time around.

“To think that I’m an inspiration to young kids out there is a blessing,” he said. “I know what it feels like. I was one of those kids who looked up to many people.”

Le Clos relives his victory over Phelps in the above clip, but he did not go up against Phelps at the Pan Pacific Championships last week. South Africa did not send its best swimmers to the event after they took part in the Commonwealth Games. Le Clos won seven medals at Commonwealths.

“I needed some time out from competing after the Commonwealths, not have the stress of competing all the time,” Le Clos said, according to SwimSwam.

Youth Olympians reunited for first time in 12 years

Swimming short-course records in peril as FINA recognizes ISL times

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In the debut season of the International Swimming League, six U.S. short-course records have fallen. USA Swimming has recognized the new circuit’s times from the outset.

International body FINA, which at first threatened to ban swimmers who participated in the ISL and then said it would not recognize records from the team-based league, which debuted in October and will hold its first final meet Dec. 20-21 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is now recognizing those times, and the effects on its statistics have been drastic.

MORE: Ledecky sets U.S. record in ISL debut

This morning, a downloaded list of the top times in the world this year included no ISL times. By the afternoon, times from the ISL’s meet over the weekend in College Park, Md., accounted for most of the times on the lists, including the top 10 in the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 100m freestyle.

So far, the ISL hasn’t figured into the top five on many all-time FINA lists. But the best short-course times are typically posted near the end of the year, and the ISL has two meets remaining.

The U.S. record book has already changed. In October, Katie Ledecky set the 400m freestyle record (3:54.06) and Melanie Margalis set the 200m medley mark (2:04.18).

In College Park this weekend, Margalis also set the U.S. 400m medley record (4:24.46) and Ian Finnerty set two records the 50m breaststroke (25.99), with runner-up Michael Andrew also beating the previous record, and the 100m breaststroke (56.29). Also, Caeleb Dressel set the 50m butterfly record (22.21).

Only half of the swimmers in the ISL will advance to the final, and qualification isn’t necessarily in their hands. After the College Park meet, the Cali Condors and LA Current clinched spots in Las Vegas. That’s bad news for Andrew (New York Breakers), Finnerty (DC Trident) and Ledecky (DC Trident).

Dressel, Margalis and Lilly King — all representing the Condors — will have another shot at records in Vegas. 

FINA, as usual, is running its World Cup circuit during the fall and early winter, and some swimmers — including overall World Cup champions Vladimir Morozov and Cate Campbell — are pulling double duty between the World Cup and ISL.

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IOC announces deal with Airbnb to add housing for future Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee has moved to help with the scramble to house the influx of athletes, staff and spectators with each Olympics, making a deal with online housing broker Airbnb to add accommodations for the Games through 2028.

“The agreement includes accommodation provisions that will reduce costs for Olympic Games organizers and stakeholders, minimize the need for construction of new accommodation infrastructure for the Olympic Games period, and generate direct revenue for local hosts and communities,” the IOC announced.

Airbnb’s partnership also includes accommodation for disability athletes for the Paralympic Games, and the company will join large global companies such as Coca-Cola, Visa and Panasonic as worldwide Olympic partners.

Athletes also will have a chance to make money by hosting travelers.

“As an Olympian host, you can create and lead an experience inspired by your expertise and interests,” reads an explanation on the Olympic athlete support portal Athlete365.

Outside the Olympics and Olympic athlete experiences, the IOC and Airbnb are pledging to work together on long-term support to refugees.

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