Five things to know about Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling

Five things to know about Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling

Just before his 200m butterfly heats in London, Schooling’s swim cap and goggles were rejected for failing to meet Olympic regulations. He finished 26th overall and did not qualify for the semi-finals. He did not advance from the 100m heats either, finishing 35th.

Schooling followed his 2014 successes with a whopping nine golds at the 2015 SEA Games, before making history later that year with a bronze – Singapore’s first – at the swimming world championships

2. Second person in the family to make Olympic history

While Schooling’s name is written in Singapore sporting annals, he does not have the honour of being the first Olympian in the family.

That distinction instead belongs to Schooling’s granduncle Lloyd Valberg, who competed at the 1948 London Games in the high jump. Valberg was the first athlete representing Singapore to compete at the Olympics.

“The Lloyd Valberg story has always been told by my dad to me. He told me that my granduncle is the first Singaporean Olympian,” Schooling said in an interview for a book entitled: “Rings of Stars and Crescent: 70 Years of the Olympic Movement in Singapore”.

“That comparison inspired me. He’s a role model for me. It’s in the family, it’s in the genes.”

Coincidentally, Schooling also made his Olympics debut in London.

3. Beaten Phelps prior to Rio

Schooling’s 2016 triumph over legendary swimmer Michael Phelps catapulted the Singaporean into prominence, but he had beaten the legendary swimmer months prior.

At the 2016 Longhorns Elite Invite meet, the Singaporean pipped Phelps to the wall in the 100m butterfly by 0.07s.  He would follow that up by finishing ahead of the American in the 100m butterfly heats in Rio before taking the gold.

The 100m butterfly in Rio was Phelps’ last Olympic race and he retired shortly after the Games.

“I’m not a superstar. I’m just that kid who beat (Michael) Phelps that one time,” said Schooling after returning to Singapore.