(Image source: Channel NewsAsia)
Wow! What an intense and adrenaline-filled morning, thanks to Joseph Schooling ! I woke up at 3+ am (Helsinki time) to find out that Singapore now has OUR own gold Olympics medal! 🙂
And this comes against all odds from a young country which places so much academic pressure on our youths, and so little on excelling in sports. So today, I want to briefly write about why the 3 reasons why this year will be the year of Joseph Schooling, and in particular why his win is both spectacular and symbolic.
Reason #1: Joseph Schooling has successfully set a new benchmark for ALL Singaporeans!
““(Coach) Sergio (Lopez) believes that. Eddie (Reese) believes that [Singapore has a lot of swimming talent]. And this is coming from some of the greatest minds in the world swimming community. For them to say that, and then for me to prove them right, that’s crazy. I hope this opens a new door or open more doors for sports in our country, and hopefully I’ve set a precedence for a lot more young guys to come up after us.
“It’s been a lot of hard work. I’ve done something that no one in our country has done before, I’ve received a lot of support and that’s phenomenal.
“I can’t really describe what that means to me but it has been a tough road, I’m not going to lie. The first guys through the wall is always bloody. I’ll have to take that blow and I’m thankful and blessed to have the ability to accomplish this.””
And basically you cannot argue against this picture:
Singapore’s pride! Schooling has shown beyond doubt that all things are possible as long as you are focused, insistent and humble.
Reason #2: Joseph Schooling has shown how it is possible to be both ambitious and humble. And by winning the Olympics gold, he becomes a hugely inspiring role model for many young Singaporeans.
Logic: You see, the next time someone tells a young Singaporean person “You will never be able to do XYZ because Singapore is ‘not the place to do it'”, they just have to point to Joseph Schooling.
Because Joseph Schooling did it!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 He’s the human example that it IS possible as a Singaporean to achieve big, ambitious dreams, under certain conditions. So he becomes an excellent reference and role model. Young Singaporeans can watch what he does, dissect his methods of reaching his goal, and model after him.
That is hope and national glory!!
And is Joseph Schooling a guy with only exceptional talent? Apparently not–his father, Colin Schooling had this to say of him:
“The most important thing is to be an ambassador for all our children in Singapore that gives them hope that they also can do it. There’s nothing special about him, just a boy who is interested in the sport.”
Wow! Such a humble father!
What Joseph Schooling does have however, is grit, discipline, focus and the desire to win, on top of his in-born talent. He worked very, very hard for the gold, and made a lot of sacrifices to get it.
I was most amazed by his humility though! In spite of accomplishing such a huge feat, this is what he has to say of his gold medal, while pressing his right hand hard against his heart as the Majulah Singapura played during the medal ceremony:
“This moment is not all about me. It’s also about my coaches, my friends, and my family.”
“All I can say is I’m really honoured and priviledged to have the opportunity to race in an Olympic final alongside huge names like Michael (Phelps), Chad (le Clos) and Laszlo (Cseh) – guys who have changed the face of this sport. Guys who have won the most number of golds and medals in Olympic history, a guy who will go down as the greatest of all time. I’m honoured and glad to get that moment.”
Eh why so humble ah! It’s so inspiring and endearing~
So you see, Joseph Schooling comes across as a sensible, down-to-earth guy who is humble and does not let success get into his head. This makes him a hugely inspiring role model for all young Singaporeans who want to go down the path less taken–defined by anything non-academic– no? 🙂
Reason #3: Joseph Schooling’s gold medal win symbolises the start of a brand new and exciting phrase of Singapore’s next 50 years!
Last year we all mourned the death of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and celebrated SG50 together as one nation. The grand celebration wasn’t without doubts, worries and fears mixed with hope, pride and anticipation for the future.
That is to say, we look back into our past and gain the courage/strength to live well in the present and execute crazily ambitious plans in the future.
The following excerpt was taken from a speech made by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew in 1973.
“However, from time to time, we shall throw up a few natural record breakers. But any Olympic sports council member, or an affiliate club, which sets out to persuade above-average sportsmen or sportswomen to devote the best years of their lives merely to training and becoming gold medalists, will find their zeal misplaced, and funds cut off. For they will do an injustice to these persons. First, they are unlikely to achieve world class. Second, what happens to record-breaking aspirants when their prime years are over?”
I completely agree with Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s statement back in 1973, because the context was that Singapore is a completely unknown, undeveloped country then. Prime Minister Lee’s focus then was to set up a system which could make the country prosperous, and sports was not seen as “productive” or “economic” and hence relegated to a lower priority.
Clearly, Joseph Schooling’s gold medal win today in 2016, 43 years on–is one clear indicator that Singaporeans have moved up the Moslow’s hierarchy of needs–from the “survival” to the “self-fulfilment” mentality. This implies that we can do more amazing feats moving forward, as Singaporeans: The sky is the limit!
(Source: The Telegraph UK)
And to quote the mantra from Joseph Schooling’s alumni ACS: The best is yet to be!
I was heartened to see how Singaporeans rallied together to watch him swim for the win! When he won the gold medal, so many Singaporeans cheered and felt the Singapore pride. My facebook was even flooded with 80% Joseph Schooling’s updates (which is a pleasant break from Pokemon go, haha). That is way awesome!!
What a glorious, stylish win! Thank you Joseph Schooling for winning this Olympic gold medal for Singapore and setting this huge precedence.
Let’s fly the Singapore flag high and represent Singapore well on the glorious global stage! =)