Fresh from their efforts in the pool, Olympians and OMEGA brand ambassadors Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos were among the special guests at the "Swimming Legends" event on Monday night at OMEGA House in Rio de Janeiro. Inside a packed House, they were joined by Alexander Popov, another OMEGA brand ambassador, who is regarded as one of the greatest sprint freestylers in history.
Both Phelps and Le Clos have added to their medal tally during Rio 2016. Incredibly, Michael Phelps added 5 more gold medals and one silver – pushing his overall career total to 28 medals including 23 gold. When entering the venue, he spoke with guests and reflected on his time in Rio. “There’s no better way to finish a career. I think it was finally setting in that this was my last time. These were my last races ever. That was going through my head the whole time and it just made me emotional.”
Michael’s wife Nicole and baby son Boomer have been with him throughout the competition and were also alongside him at OMEGA House. With a smile on his face, Michael mentioned how being a father has influenced his swimming. “Fatherhood is the greatest thing I could ever dream of. I think there were a lot of things that I did in Rio for the team, as a captain, that were very fatherly like.”
Le Clos also walked away from the pool in Rio with two silver medals to his name. He gave his thoughts on Michael’s retirement as well as his own future aspirations. “Michael has always inspired me every day. To think that he’s retired is difficult. I’ve asked him nicely if he’ll stick around for another year or so. But now that he’s gone I feel like there are a lot of things I need to get closer to, like a world record for example. There’s a lot more of me that the world hasn’t seen.”
One of the other leading guests of honour was Alexandre Popov, an OMEGA Ambassador and former Olympian with 9 medals. He has also been on the Organising Committee for Rio 2016. Speaking to guests at the event, he said, “The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have had a lot of Brazilian flavour. If you take the organizational part, if you take the Opening Ceremony, if you take the food, culture, colour, traffic, construction, we will remember the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for quite some time.”
Although the evening brought together the brand’s family of successful swimming stars, there were many other VIPs and Olympic Games athletes and medallists mingling altogether in one House, including swimmers, cyclists, soccer players and rowers.
OMEGA has been at the forefront of international competitive swimming for many years and is responsible for the development of some of the key technologies used in the pool. As the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, OMEGA has been behind the clock throughout Rio 2016 and has enjoyed timing every event.
President and CEO of OMEGA, Raynald Aeschlimann, who is a big fan of the Olympic Games swimming events, began the evening by saying, “Swimming is one of those sports in which the smallest fraction of time is crucial. OMEGA is deeply involved in aquatic timekeeping and we feel like we have a real responsibility to these incredible athletes. Both Michael and Chad have been amazing to watch in Rio. Really, I think the world has witnessed something truly special. We are so proud of them.”
After a grand entrance and stage appearance from Phelps, Le Clos and Popov, the “Swimming Legends” event carried on long into the night. With less than a week of sporting action left, the celebrations at OMEGA House are still on the rise, with several more big events planned this week.
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