He did it.
Joseph Schooling won the Men's 100 meters Butterfly Final on Friday to secure Singapore's first ever Olympic gold medal.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling celebrates after winning the Gold for 100m Butterfly and setting a new Olympic Record. Photo: Sport Singapore
Let that sink in for a moment - Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal.
Flying out of the blocks, Schooling never looked in danger as he powered his way to an Olympic record 50.39s in brilliant style.
In lane two, Michael Phelps, Schooling’s boyhood hero, in the final individual race of his extraordinary career, finished joint second with South Africa's Chad Le Clos and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh in a remarkable three way tie, all touching out in 51.14 seconds, behind Schooling's Olympic record 50.39s.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling still reeling from the effects of the 100m Butterfly Final. Photo: Sport Singapore
“It doesn’t matter where you are from,” said Schooling when asked what his victory meant for a small country.
“Some people believe that Singapore has a lot of talent. Sergio (Lopez) believes that and Eddie (Reese) believes that, this is coming from some of the greatest minds in the swimming community."
“For them to say that and for me to prove that they are right, that is crazy. I hope this opens new doors for sports in our country and hopefully I have set a precedent for a lot more young people to come through,” he added.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling moments before he breaks the 100m Butterfly Olympic Record set by idol Michael Phelps. Photo: Sport Singapore
But Schooling, who has exuded quiet confidence throughout this week as he looked towards the ultimate prize that is now around his neck, said it was still hard to believe he had actually achieved his goal.
“It hasn’t really sunk it yet. I am sorry if I don’t seem like…I’m full of emotions right now. I don’t know what to believe if I actually did it? Or am I still preparing for my race, I am kind of between a lot of things,” he said.
“I need to chill by myself, let things sink in, realise what I have done and then I will have a better understanding of what I have accomplished. But right now, all I can say is that I am really honoured and privileged to have had an opportunity to race in an Olympic final alongside huge names like Michael, Chad and Laszlo, guys that have changed the face of this sport, guys that have won the most number of gold medals and medals in history. Guys that will go down in the history books as the greatest of all time in any sport. I am just honoured and glad to have had that moment, that privilege to race alongside Michael and Chad and all those guys."
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