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If not for Covid-19, we would be cheering for our favorite athletes and heroes during the Summer Olympics. Until we can; here is a story that I recall from 2016 that inspires perseverance and motivation.
Meet Joseph Schooling
When Joseph Schooling first met Michael Phelps, he was just 13 years old—a kid meeting the swimmer he idolized. Neither could have known at the time that the same young boy would go head-to-head with his idol in the pool years later.
And not only would they go head-to-head, the boy would win.
Schooling beat his swimming hero in the 100-meter butterfly in at the 2016 Rio Olympics to win Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal. The now 21-year-old Singaporean swam the 100 in 50.39 seconds to set an Olympic record. Phelps, South African Chad le Clos and Hungarian Laszlo Cseh each finished in 51.14 seconds.
Even when Schooling beat Phelps in the semifinal heat Thursday, Singaporeans took to social media to celebrate his feat. One can only imagine the celebrations in Singapore now, as the race ran in the Saturday morning hours.
While Phelps was disappointed he was unable to secure his fifth gold medal of the 2016 Summer Games and 23rd of his Olympic career, he couldn’t help but marvel at the young man who bested him all these years later.
“Watching Joe and what he’s done over the last two years—he’s been swimming great,” Phelps told NBC. “50.3 is obviously a really good time and a very respectable time. My hat’s definitely off to him.”