While Michael Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian in history, has been adamant that he is retiring from competitive swimming after achieving 22 Olympic Medals—18 of them Gold—he's still ready for more aqua-challenges.
Going diving with Great White Sharks.
"I've always wanted to dive with great whites," Phelps told NBC's Bob Costas in an interview about his post-Olympic plans. "Sharks are one of my favorite animals in the world!," he added, which would probably not come as a shock to his competitors in the pool.
Ironically, the person he's planning to embark with on his Great White shark dive is the 20-year-old South African Olympic rival, Chad Le Clos, who dethroned the butterfly King from his signature race, the 200M Butterfly at the 2012 Olympics—a race Phelps has dominated since the 2004 Olympics.
"Chad and I were talking," Phelps told Costas, "and Chad said 'why don't you come to South Africa?' So I said 'let's dive with the great whites together.' and he said 'OK. Let's set it up.'"
And the bromance has begun.
Le Clos, who has said he has idolized Phelps since a young lad, and would tape and replay his races over and over again, was as surprised as anyone when he just out-touched his hero by .05 seconds. Only a few days later, Phelps would beat out Le Clos in the 100M Butterfly, securing his 2nd record-breaking three-peat by having won gold in a specific event in three Olympic games.
But Le Clos' shock was a humbled and gracious one, as he quickly tweeted shortly after the race "@MichaelPhelps it was such an honour to race u last night, thank u for being such an inspiration to me and many others, ur the greatest!"
While Phelps may be the fiercest competitor in the water, outside of the pool he had nothing but kind words for Le Clos, embracing him on the Olympic victory lap.
"He seems like a normal guy,” Phelps said. “We were talking about FIFA, about video games; he plays on PlayStation, but I only play Xbox. We still think we can beat each other. It is that competitiveness, and it is cool to see."
Le Clos' family and country have rolled out the red-carpet for Phelps if he dares to go diving with the sharks.
Bert Le Clos, whose joyous and touching celebration after his son beat Phelps on Tuesday night went viral on the Internet, told South African television that his family would roll out the welcome mat for Phelps.
“It would be our pleasure to welcome him,” said Bert Le Clos, Chad memorably emotional father when he won Olympic Gold against Phelps.
“He is a great champion, but more importantly he is a great human being. He has been very kind to Chad, who has always looked up to him as a legend.”
Caution Aqua-man, Great Whites travel 15 miles per hour, have seven rows of 300 teeth and are not friendly rivals!
Chad Le Clos and MIchael Phelps to star in Jaws 4! The question remains, who will out run the Great White?
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