Since his arrival back home, Joseph Schooling [the young boy who surprised Michael Phelps to a gold medal in Brazil] has received praises and admiration from Singaporeans.
Image: Joseph Schooling
Singapore’s first Olympic champion finally showed courage and maturity during a media session on Tuesday (Aug 16). The 21-year-old swimmer broke his silence, saying: “I haven’t had any downtime … There hasn’t been a place I’ve been to where no one asked for a photograph, autograph or stopped me.” His brows furrowed momentarily before returning to his trademark, sparkle-eyed grin.
Schooling touched down in Singapore a day after he won a gold medal at Rio 2016 in spectacular, stunning fashion, and has made headlines since.
The younster was mobbed at the airport, and had a congratulatory Parliamentary motion bestowed upon him.
Image shows Phelps next to Schooling during the medal ceremony for the 100m butterfly event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Yet throughout it all he has maintained a level of grace and humility belying his young age.
“I’m not a superstar. I’m just that kid who beat (Michael) Phelps that one time,” he insisted, referring to the American great who had surrendered to the young Singaporean his three-time Olympic 100m butterfly title as well as Games record time.
Behind Schooling, Phelps was relegated to a novel joint-silver medal along with longtime rivals Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh.
“It was funny seeing three people stand up on the podium together, you don’t see that every day,” Schooling chuckled.
“But I just felt better that day. It doesn’t mean I’m a better swimmer than them. I was just on my game that day … I felt like I could have won, and I did.”
Asked to delve into the reasons for his success, Schooling again pointed to parents Colin and May – stating that he was “forever in debt to them”.
“My parents sacrificed a lot for me to get here. The things they do for me are crazy, I don’t want to go into it but if you ask a lot of parents to do it they wouldn’t,” he said. “Huge props to them. All I know is I’m very lucky to have parents like that.”
Butterfly specialist Joseph Schooling, who clinched his first Olympic Gold medal at the 100m butterfly event on Saturday morning, can look forward to prize money of S$1 million from his country.
According to Business Insider, that’s because Singapore tops the rest of the world in prize money for winning a gold medal.
According to Fox Sports Australia, athletes who win Olympic gold medals get paid 1 million Singapore dollars for their achievements (roughly $750,000 American).
Comparatively, Americans who win gold get paid $25,000 before taxes.