21 year old Joseph Schooling who met his idol Michael Phelps 8 years ago, became the first Singaporean athlete to win a Games gold and he did so in an Olympic record time of 50.83 seconds. Remarkably his idol Michael Phelps finished in a three-way tie for the silver, the 27th medal of his career, along with South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary (Phelp’s most competitive rival) as they all clocked the same time of 51.14 seconds.
“As a kid I wanted to be like him,” said Schooling, who got his photograph taken with Phelps before his eight-gold-medal performance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“It’s crazy to think of what happens in eight years,” Schooling said, adding: “A lot of this is because of Michael. He’s the reason I wanted to be a better swimmer.”
During the Rio Olympics, Schooling punched the water upon realizing he had foiled three of the biggest names in the world of swimming.
Phelps will now have to wait to see if he can add to his 23 gold medals when he takes part in Saturday’s men’s 4x100m freestyle medley.