Schooling's Incredible Victory Over Phelps Shows How Failures Can Prepare You For Success
Before Singapore's Joseph Schooling defeated 5-time US Olympian Michael Phelps in the 100m butterfly swimming race and delivered his nation's first Olympic gold. Before he became the first swimmer to beat Phelps in the 100m butterfly since 2004, Joseph was a fan.
Before Schooling and Phelps swam next to each other, neck-to-neck, during the butterfly heats at Rio 2016, a sad Joseph, who made his Olympics debut at London 2012, was comforted by Phelps
Schooling's single-minded, 7-year chase of his Olympic dream almost had a nightmarish ending during the London Olympics
In 2012 London Olympics, a 17-year-old Joseph Schooling had got his dream come true of swimming in the same race as Michael Phelps.
Back then he had said it was "a tick off on my bucket list."
But then disaster struck when, just before his race, his goggles and swim cap were rejected before the 200m butterfly heat as they had failed to meet Olympic regulations.
A shocked Joseph rushed to get replacements, but ended up getting a poor time in his heats (Joseph clocked 1:59.18) and didn't get through to the semi-finals. He also failed to make the semi-final of the 100m fly, with his time of 53.63 some way off his personal best of 53.18.
It was Phelps who was there to comfort him then
"I was walking behind Phelps after my race when he looked at me and asked, 'what's wrong?'"
"I told him what happened and he hugged me and said, 'You're only so young, you still have a long way to go. It's a learning experience so keep your head high and just keep moving on'.
Motivated by Phelps' encouragement, a disappointed Schooling said "Champions don't make excuses" and vows to bounce back
And bounce back he did!
In 2015, after three years of a gradual rise, Schooling makes history by becoming the first Singaporean to win a medal at the World Championships, when he finished third in the 100m fly in a new national record and Asian record time (50.96s).
He followed this by winning nine golds out of nine events at the SEA Games on home ground, in all new Games’ record times.
Fast forward to 2016, two months before the Olympics, a much better Schooling actually beat Phelps at the Austin Elite Invite
Schooling took gold in the 100m fly when he touched home in 51:58s, ahead of his childhood idol and 2016 Olympics rival Phelps, who finished second in 51.65s.
Rest as they say is history. Not only did Schooling once again got the chance to came face to face with his childhood idol at Rio 2016, he made history by defeating Phelps at the Olympics.
Amazingly, an inspired Joseph Schooling actually swam faster than Michael Phelps ever did in any of his Olympic victories!
It's no small feat to come back from what happened in London 2012 to Rio 2016.
As a kid, Joseph wanted to be like Phelps. But as his rival at Rio, he actually became better by conquering Phelps in the 100 metres butterfly.
Joe Schooling from Singapore has become a better swimmer than Phelps himself.