(Photo Credits: Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
Good looking, humble, articulate, fast, intelligent, talented are just some of the words that can be used to describe Singapore’s golden boy, Joseph Issac Schooling.
If he didn’t capture your heart when he became Singapore’s most bemedalled athlete at the SEA Games in 2013 or when he clinched Singapore’s first ever medal in Swimming at the Commonwealth Games this year surely he must have caught your attention after he recent exploits at the recently concluded Asian Games where he walked away with a full set of medals (Bronze, Silver, Gold)
Here are 10 Things You Should Know about this boy with the ultra good looks who also happens to be an ultra-talented swimmer.
1.HE IS NOT A FOREIGN TALENT. HE IS A TRUE BORN SINGAPOREAN
His father Colin Schooling is a true son of Singapore who was born and bred here while his mother May Yim Schooling is a permanent resident who has lived here for more than 30 years.
2. HE HAS OLYMPIC DNA IN HIS BLOOD
His grand-uncle Lloyd Valberg was Singapore’s first Olympian participating in the high jump in the 1948 Olympics
3. HE IS YOUNGEST WINNER OF THE SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD AT THE SINGAPORE SPORTS AWARD
While typical 17 year-olds were busy building a social life, Joseph was bagging medals, records and awards after awards. At the tender age of 17, he was already crowned Sportsman of the Year at the prestigious Singapore Sports Award in 2011. We definitely can expect to see him bagging it for his achievements this year again.
4. HIS FAMILY IS ALL IN ON THIS JOURNEY WITH HIM
In a society where sports always comes behind everything else, it's not everyday you will find parents that are so supportive of their's sons ambitions. It has been stated in news reports that the family has spent over $1 million on their son's swimming career and the couple have also sacrificed much needed family time to stay by Joseph's side throughout.
5. HE HAS BEEN GRANTED DEFERMENT FROM NS DUTIES TILL 31 AUGUST 2016 TO ALLOW HIM TO FOCUS ON TRAINING FOR THE 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES
There will always be naysayers with many critics opposing the government's decision to allow Joseph to defer his National Services Duties till the 2016 Olympic games but how can we expect him to be at his fullest potential if he has to serve National service full time at one of the most crucial periods of his swimming career. Kudos to the Singapore Government for making the exception for this exceptional boy.
6. HE HAS ALLOWED SINGAPOREANS TO DREAM BIGGER DREAMS
(Photo Credits: Jaewon Lee / Sport Singapore)
The republic's swimming team has always been successful at the regional level but have not had much luck on the Asian Stage let alone the world stage. With his recent exploits that have just kept getting better and better, as a Singaporean it gives me hope that we might potentially see a medal and our flag raised by a true born Singaporean since Tan Howe Liang at the 1960 Olympics. Let's not forget that he is always the first person to win a medal in all 3 butterfly events at the Asian Games.
7. HE IS NOT ONLY KNOWN IN SINGAPORE FOR HIS SWIMMING EXPLOITS, HE IS ALSO ONE OF THE TOP RECRUITS IN THE COUNTRY
There will always be champions in every country (I mean someone will always be top) but how often do we have national champions from Singapore that have potential or are competitive on the world stage? Not many, and Joseph is one of the few. Ranked the fastest in his age-group in the 100m butterfly event at 18, he was also the #1 recruit in the United States going into his senior year before eventually settling in at the University Of Texas.
Also, how many people can say that a 3 time Olympic Gold Medallist (Nathan Adrian) has tipped him to be a medal contender at the Olympics?!
8. HE IS JUST LIKE EVERY NORMAL TEEN
He’s on social media (Facebook, Twitter- Joschooling, Instagram- Josephschooling) and he plays video games too! The only difference is that he plays it at the Asian Games Village and his photos and adventures are much cooler than everyone else.
9. HE IS TRAINED BY A FORMER OLYMPIC MEDALLIST
His coach Sergio Lopez Miro who has trained Joseph since he moved to the Bolles School in 2009 was a bronze medallist in the 200m breaststroke at the 1988 Olympics. Don't fret although Joseph has parted ways with Sergio to train at the University of Texas where he is studying, he is in good hands as his current coach Eddie Reese also happens to be the National Men's Head Coach at the 2004 & 2008 Olympic Games.
10. HE HAS THE POTENTIAL TO WIN NOT ONLY ANY OLYMPIC MEDAL BUT A GOLD MEDAL
I kid you not. At 19, he has already a truckload of SEA Games Medals, Numerous National Records a full set of Asian Games Medal (Bronze, Silver Gold), an Asian Games Record a Commonwealth Silver medal and one of the 8 fastest times in the world in the 100m Fly putting him in a good position for the Olympic Games in 2 years where he is expected to be the youngest competitor in the finals.