Michael Phelps loses 100 m fly at Rio to his Singaporean childhood fan, Schooling
It isn’t every day you come face to face with your childhood idol – and defeat him at the Olympics.
Singapore’s Joseph Schooling defeated decorated US Olympian Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly swimming race and won his country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal. The 21-year-old Singaporean won in an Olympic record time of 50.39 seconds.
Phelps came in second, earning a silver on 51.14 seconds – tied with South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.
“I’m just ecstatic. I need it to sink in,” Schooling told reporters after his historic swim.
“It feels great – kind of feels surreal right now, it’s crazy,” he said.
“I really can’t describe how this moment feels. All the adrenaline is running through my veins right now. It’s a dream come true.”
But to many Singaporeans following Schooling’s Olympic journey, it was all about the emotions of seeing him meet his childhood idol back in the Olympic swimming pool – eight years after they first met.
Many on Facebook shared memes and photos of the swimmers’ meeting in 2008.
“[This must have been playing out] in Joseph’s mind: Doesn’t matter if I win or lose, it was an honour to compete in Olympic swimming besides my childhood idol,” said Koyuki Everdeen.
“I can really see that he put in a lot of hard-work and effort. And that’s why he won first place.”
Keith Power said: “Just shows the influence sports stars can have on impressionable young minds. He was obviously inspired – well done Joseph!”
Oli To thinks it must have been “a dream come true” for the Singapore swimmer.
“To swim and compete with Michael Phelps, Joseph is a winner and world-class whether he wins an Olympic medal or not.”
“Their difference in timing was only a fraction of a second.”
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