The Olympics has been kicking into high gear and press left and right have been covering the weeks-long event non-stop, in the hopes of reporting on some great wins from the games.
Well, let us take a listen to this a wondrously inspiring story of a swimmer who, after eight years of meeting his hero, completely beat him at the Rio Olympics 2016.
Joseph Schooling, a Singaporean swimmer, has edged his idol Michael Phelps last night at the Olympic games in Rio, winning his country’s first ever gold medal in the men’s 100-meter butterfly final.
The difference is unsurprisingly steep: Schooling, aged 21, took home the win with an impressive 50.39sec final record; while Phelps, aged 31, finished at a very close 51.14sec record, making an unprecedented three-way joint silver award with fellow swimmers Chad le Clos (from South Africa) and Laszlo Cseh (from Hungary).
Phelps, while sad for failing to acquire his supposedly 23rd gold medal, told The Guardian that he is very much happy for the Singaporean swimmer, whom, it turns out, he had met eight years ago at the Olympic games in Beijing in China.
“I’m proud of Joe,” he said.
Schooling recalls his first encounter with the world-renowned athlete so far. It was in 2008 when his hero, Phelps, dropped by his swimming club for a visit. “Everyone just rushed up and was like it is Michael Phelps! It is Michael Phelps!’ and I really wanted a picture,” he said. The now gold medal holder of the men’s 100-meter butterfly final was completely starstruck.
Schooling had also added that, while he completely beat Phelps, it was to Phelps does he owe the big win. A small gesture of kindness and inspiration, indeed, goes a very long way. “If it was not for Michael, I do not think I could have gotten to this point. I wanted to be like him as a kid,” he said.
It is very interesting to see how the tides can turn for these swimmers, from their first encounter eight years ago to their battle at the Rio Olympics just last night. Such serendipity!
Phelps had said that he wants to use the success he has achieved to change the sport of swimming for the better. With the win that Schooling just earned, it is clear that the beloved Olympian is truly making a big change. And it is just the beginning.
Keep it up, Michael! You are one of the good ones.