5 Things That Happened Right After Schooling Won Olympic Gold

Joseph Schooling Olympics Gold

Picture Credit: Minister Tan Chuan-Jin

#1: People have to eat their words: “Fat”, “Flabby”, “Old”?

You might have heard people commenting that Phelps is “old” and past his prime years as a swimmer. Then he gets gold after gold. You might have even read (like I did) how commenters wrote that Schooling seems “fat” or “flabby” in pictures or videos from Rio2016. He then went on to win Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal, setting an Olympics record in the process. Fat, your foot lah.

Journalists who went on and on about ‘The King & The Kid’ end up watching two champions face the media together. I kid you not.

#2: 4D punters realize the magic numbers of ‘5039’ are SOLD OUT way before lunchtime

4D 5039 sold out

Before I’d even properly settled down to a late breakfast, I heard that 5039 was already sold out at Singapore Pools. Wow. Those guys sure move fast.

Hopefully, Joseph Schooling’s gold medal timing also results in some people striking gold at the lottery. Even if 5039 doesn’t end up as a winning number, I think most Singaporeans already feel like Schooling has given us a National Day gift to rejoice about.

*Update: 5039 is not one of today’s 4D winning numbers (nope, not even a consolation prize). However, Singapore Pools appears to support the MAP which rewards athletes based on the number of medals they’ve won (see Point 5 in this blogpost) so 4D punters can congratulate themselves: the money they paid today goes towards rewarding this awesome young athlete🙂

#3: People realize journalists can upload articles with or without quotes, but athletes had better “TALK” at some point

When I woke up this morning, I found an email from a news site I’m subscribed to. The journalist had already put together a lengthy article about Schooling winning gold for Singapore. Included was also the backstory about his journey toward fulfilling his dream. There was NO quote at all from any athlete, coach or bystander.

More than 2 hours later, the article was updated with a few sentences from Schooling.

What does this prove? Journalists can upload a full article before getting a quote from an athlete, but an athlete needs to “TALK” at some point, so both parties can consider their “job” done. Otherwise, don’t blame the journalist for writing what he/she will and casting aspersions on your character for not speaking to the media when you “should” have.😛

Poor thing! You sweat, you train, you compete… AND you have to force yourself to talk.

#4: Singaporean parents start rethinking preferred career options for their kids

The oft-quoted trinity for Singaporean parents when it comes to preferred careers for their children has long been ‘Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant’. From now on, perhaps, kids who display a certain talent in sports can tell their parents that they want to be like Joseph Schooling, who brought glory to the entire nation.

Truth be told, I’ve met so many lawyers, and read about so many ‘black sheep’ highlighted in the news that I don’t think I’ll want any kid of mine to enter the legal profession. Why not be a doctor? It’s the only profession that saves lives within this ‘trinity’.

#5: Everyone pats themselves on the back; congratulating themselves on Schooling’s win

Joseph Schooling left for the United States at the age of 14, in pursuit of his dream. Seven years later, he fought hard and his dream came true. I wonder how much our country actually invested into his career. Did we sponsor (even partially) the coaching fees that must have been incurred over those years? Did we sponsor the airfares to and fro? If Schooling’s parents had tallied the amount they spent over the years in support of their son’s dream, it would no doubt be an astronomical figure.

And what about the athlete’s own investment of time, sweat, tears, blood, youth?

Sure, we have a Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) that rewards athletes who do well, i.e. win medals for us. Schooling stands to ‘win’ $1 million. But wait…

  1. The awards come with ceilings. For the Olympics Games, there’s a ceiling – just the first individual gold medal won at the Olympics. Supposedly, even if he wins more than just one gold medal, he’s entitled to only $1 mil.
  2. “It is mandatory for all athletes to plough back a certain percentage of the MAP awards to their National Sports Association for future training and development.” This “certain” percentage is not disclosed to us.
  3. Tax will have to be paid. And you can calculate that yourself.

To many, a $1 million award seems like a hefty sum. How much Joseph Schooling gets after taxes and mandatory contributions back to NSA, I don’t know. I do suspect that it won’t be able to cover the investment his parents put into supporting his career choice.

Hopefully, Joseph Schooling gets all the endorsements he deserves. Milo, BRAND’S, Pocari Sweat, are you guys reading this? Also, perhaps he might start a swim school – that could potentially be lucrative. I suppose kids from the region might even come here to train with him.


Just as Roger Bannister broke the ‘4-minute mile’ and paved the way for other athletes to shatter mental barriers, I believe (and fervently hope) that Joseph Schooling’s Olympic gold medal helps demolish those notions of parents who think that there’s no future in Sports for their kids. Yes, there IS a future, but your kid has to work his ass off to get there. And you have to be prepared for the financial outlay. Also, perhaps now Singapore will put more effort (and FUNDS!) into supporting our athletes and training a new batch of local-borns who will keep the Singapore flag flying high in subsequent editions of the Olympics. After the National Stadium, I think we love hearing our national anthem being played at the Olympics, no?🙂