Chad le Clos confident he will add extra events at postponed Olympics

Japan PM, IOC president agree to postpone 2020 Olympics (1:22)

Jeremy Schaap discusses the agreement by IOC president Thomas Bach and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus outbreak. (1:22)

South African Olympic gold medalist Chad le Clos has told ESPN that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by a year has raised the possibility that he could race in more events.

Le Clos is South Africa's most decorated Olympian, with a gold in the 200 meters butterfly in 2012 that shot him to fame when he beat Michael Phelps, as well as three silver medals.

He admits the postponement of the Games due to the coronavirus pandemic is a disappointment, but has taken a philosophical view and says that it could actually work out in his favour.

Le Clos told ESPN: "It has been a difficult couple of weeks for everybody, not just myself, but they have made the right decision by postponing the Games.

"There are people around the world who have not been able to train and their health has been put at risk.

"I am just focused on staying healthy and I am ready for whenever. Whatever the date is changed to, I will be prepared for it. It is what it is and I am happy with the decision that has been made."

The 27-year-old says he has enjoyed his best-ever preparation in the past 12 weeks, so much so that he believes he can add some events to his programme when the Games are staged.

"It does change things for me a bit now," he said. "I was solely focused on the 100- and 200-metre butterfly, but I have built up such great resilience that I will be looking to add an event or two next year.

"I don't know what those are yet, but I have had a great 12 weeks of preparation since the beginning of the year. It was my best camp ever. I was prepared to swim really fast at the Olympics, but by next year I will be even more prepared.

"So if the programme stays the same, and they stick with morning finals [for the U.S. television market], extra events are a big possibility.

"If they move them to the evening before then it would be a problem, because you lose half a day of rest and recovery time. But I will be preparing to swim as much as possible."

Bach sees Olympic flame at the end of the tunnel

IOC president Thomas Bach explains the reasoning behind the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Just last week Le Clos was in full training at his Turkish base, before the crushing news came that he had 24 hours to leave the country as Turkey went into lockdown.

He explained: "It was crazy, I was just about to book tickets for my girlfriend and brother to come over and stay with me while I trained, but we were called into a meeting last Tuesday and told, 'you have to leave... now'.

"It was surreal. Of course, we knew there was this chance it could happen, but we were just so focused on training that it still came as a shock when we had to leave. In such a short space of time, our lives were turned upside down.

"But deep down I am also happy to be home. You know, both my parents have had cancer, so I am really worried about them contracting the virus. I fight with them all the time to make sure they are taking precautions. So I am more worried about them than anything else to be honest."

Le Clos says he has not trained since returning to his Cape Town home, and with South Africa heading into a lockdown from Friday until April 16, he will have little opportunity to stay active with all training facilities closed.

He added: "I will do some work on my core, pushups, some work on the bike and with the medicine balls. I have a small pool at home, so I will attach a cord that allows me stay stationary as I swim.

"So this is definitely not a break for me. As soon as I am allowed to train properly, I will jump straight back in the pool."

Le Clos is still hoping for a busy second half of 2020, including the World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi in December, and the Swimming World Cup that takes place across nine venues between September and November.