Michael Phelps and Joseph Schooling: An Effective Idol for a True Fan

It’s historic! It’s Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal. The nation is made proud. The nation is celebrating. And that comes nicely as the city-state is still in the mood of celebrating its 51st national anniversary.

Joseph Schooling - 1BabaSalam.com

The Prime Minister of Singapore, the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsein Loong took it to his Facebook to congratulate Joseph Schooling, who brought this pride to Singapore


Joseph Schooling, 21, went to the Rio2016 with one thing in mind. “Nothing makes me happy but a gold medal.” “It’s all about winning,” he added. It’s with such a determination that keeps the swimming phenomenal moving… working hard… and of course… praying hard. But every determined hero has an idol and perhaps, a role model.

Michael Phelps and Joseph Schooling - 1BabaSalam.com

Joseph Schooling (R) with his all-time idol Michael Phelps in a 2008 photo released by the Schooling family in August 2016.

8 years ago, Schooling, the then 13-year-old kid, was given the opportunity to meet and take a photo with his all-time swimming idol, Michael Phelps.

This morning, at around 10am, Singapore time, Joseph Schooling had the honour to compete alongside his all-time idol, Michael Phelps. No doubt, a competition means a competition, and a determination to win a gold medal means “it’s all about winning!” But it was also an opportunity for the true fan, Schooling, to prove to his all-time idol, Phelps, that he was an effective idol to him and the lessons were well learnt.

As much as Schooling has brought pride to Singapore, for winning the nation its first Olympic gold, and making a new record of 50.39 seconds for the 100m butterfly, he has all right to celebrate the fact that he has been a true fan, who effectively emulated his idol and proved that effectiveness by beating that very idol of his.

As an effective idol, Michael Phelps, 31, who is already hailed the Greatest of All Times, didn’t fail to show true sportsmanship. In fact, he looked relaxed and spoke encouragingly to Schooling after the medal presentation. At a media conference after the race, he said, “Nobody is happy to lose, but I’m proud of Jo.” “It’s faster than I went four years ago to win, but Jo’s tough,” Phelps added. “Hats off to him.”

Congratulations Schooling! Congratulations Singapore! Thank you, Phelps!

What are thoughts? What would say to the young who are seeing their idols in either Phelps or Schooling or both? What should they do? How can such idols remain true inspirations to their fans?

Baba Salam is a lifelong seeker of knowledge, a writer and blogger. He writes here at 1BabaSalam.com. He's also the man behind GSalam.Net. He's also the founder of TVQ.Academy. You can find him on Twitter @1babasalam, Facebook @1BabaSalam, and Instagram @1BabaSalam.