Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Looking at Schooling's Olympic Gold Medal in perspective

The fantastic achievement of Joseph Schooling in winning a Gold Medal in the 100 metre butterfly swimming event at the Rio Olympics has brought a supreme reputation and prestige to Singapore in the history of the Olympics.

Singapore, especially PM Lee Hsien Loong and his ministers, have shown superb gratitude in according Joseph Schooling the supreme honour that has never been given to any athlete or artist in the past. The whole of Singapore is in ecstatic celebration in his honour and Joseph Schooling could not have been oblivious to all the adulations that have been poured on him. In all these frenzied exuberances would it not be prudent that a rational thought be given to the sensitivity of Joseph Schooling in having to face the future? He has been lifted so high on the pedestal of fame that we may be overdoing it so that there would be no consolation, but devastation, if he could not win any gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Of course, in the midst of all these celebrations, it could not have occurred in his mind.

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The Schooling effect

While some people may obsess over Joseph Schooling's new tattoo or favourite fried carrot cake, this Olympic victory has had a far more profound effect for the swimming fraternity here.

Take 11-yr-old Anlon Loh, who says Schooling has rekindled a dream.

Anlon, a competitive swimmer at Aquarian Aquatic Swim School, was with the crowd at Changi Airport on Monday to welcome the champion home.

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'I'm honoured to tattoo Singapore's national hero'
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Schooling family: $650k prize money to be used to pay off part of loans for Joseph’s education and training

Joseph Schooling, Singapore's first gold medal Olympic winner, claimed "$1 million" from the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) that comes with the winning.

Schooling had won at the 100m butterfly event at Rio Olympics 2016 on 13 August. He completed the race in just 50.39s which broke the Olympics Games record which beat the previous record of 50.58s by Michael Phelps in 2008 Olympics Games held in Beijing.

It is believed that SNOC would hold an appreciation dinner when Schooling is back in the town to honour the Team Singapore's Olympians and present the $1 million monetary award, which is part of the Multi-Million-Dollar Awards Programme (MAP) sponsored by the Tote Board and Singapore Pools. The MAP awards are designed to reward medallists at major Games.

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Credit to May and Colin Schooling, but to Singapore sports?

If I had my pick, the most heart-warming story to emerge from Joseph Schooling’s epic win at the Rio Olympics would not be how he snatched the gold medal from his idol Michael Phelps, but how his parents raised him well for him to achieve what he has today.

Stories have been pouring in about how May and Colin have sacrificed time, money and pretty much their whole lives in an attempt for their only son to fulfil his dream.

May and Colin deserve the rightful place of honour, as they have done what most of us parents would never imagine doing – quite literally, take a plunge with their child into the deep end. If we ever need a role model for chasing our dreams, I think it is time we put to rest Lee Kuan Yew and his rainbow, and raise our heads to May and Colin Schooling.

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In an interview with the media after Joseph Schooling's historic Olympic gold medal win in the 100m butterfly event, Colin Schooling, the father of Joseph expressed his joy at the win and humbly insisted his boy had nothing special about him and that he was just a boy interested in sports.

Mr Schooling shared that this was all about love, if you love your offspring, and if you treasure them, just believe in them. He also wanted this victory to give hope to the children of Singapore that anything is possible if you have the drive to achieve.

"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."


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Father of Joseph Schooling gives words of encouragement for his son

"Well, son, you waited for eight years for this one moment in time," Colin Schooling said in a Facebook post for The Straits Time before his son raced on 100m butterfly event at Rio Olympics Saturday (13 August).

He said that even if he did not win the race he would always treasure and love his son the way he always did, "We are all behind you. We are all Singaporeans. We will look after each other."

"I want you to stun the world," he said.


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Netizens lambast Spore Parliament’s cheapshot at stealing Schooling’s glory
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NEH: No reason Y not to extend NS deferment for Schooling if conditions are met
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Schooling would probably get $650k out from the $1m prize money for his gold
Joseph Schooling wins Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal at Rio
Father of Joseph Schooling gives words of encouragement for his son
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratman proud of Joseph Schooling winning
Singapore celebrates the victory of Joseph Schooling and its first gold medal
MP Lee Bee Wah raised the issue of NS deferment for male athletes since 2011

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The many hats of a hero’s mother
A mother’s sacrifice - “We’re almost never a family. We are together only during Christmas and New Year’s Day and during his summer break, if he comes home.”

ALL eyes are on Singapore hero Joseph Schooling. But what is the man without the mother who made him who he is? Joseph Schooling had a dream and through it all, May Schooling was there. Sometimes disciplinarian, sometimes tender and loving but always supporting.

May Schooling wears many hats, and here are some of them.

In 2013, May, and her husband Colin Schooling, successfully negotiated with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) for a three year deferment for Joseph from National Service so that he could have uninterrupted focus on his bid for Olympic glory. They had argued that any break in Joseph’s training would disrupt his performance. In an interview with Yahoo a month after negotiations ended successfully, she made her confidence in her son’s ability known. Truly, she has the unwavering faith of a mother.

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Joseph Schooling’s mum on NS debate: Swimming for Singapore is also ‘national service’
Joseph Schooling with his parents May and Colin in August 2012. (Yahoo Photo)

You don’t want to mess with the most important woman in Joseph Schooling’s life.
The Singapore swim star’s mother, May, is the self-professed “bad cop” and the stricter parent to Joseph compared to her husband Colin.

“If he says a foul word, I’ll slap him,” the outspoken lady said, dead serious.

May, who is in her 50s, put her tough, no-nonsense approach to good effect when she and Colin famously negotiated for their son’s long-term deferment from National Service (NS) in October this year.

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Swimmers aim to cement status as SEA Games powerhouse
Water polo boys confident of upholding proud SEA Games heritage

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“Sorry, Joseph, Colin and May Schooling, Singapore Let You Down when You Needed Her Most”

They had to jump through hoops to make this win happen. Yet even as the former “aggressors” try to jump on the bandwagon, the Schooling family has behaved with grace and dignity. But the lines on Colin Schooling’s forehead, the crows feet around his eyes, tell the tale of sweet victory after a long battle with the bureaucracy.

Back in 2008, the Swimming Association shut down its Centre of Excellence. That’s when Colin was convinced by ex-COE coach Jack Simon that the young Joseph had to be sent to the US if he wanted a shot at the Olympics. So, the family packed their son off and shipped him to Bolles School, which is a school that specialises in training athletes – swimmers in particular. One year’s school fees cost at the institution cost around S$65,000, not including transport, accommodation and other daily expenses.

Colin Schooling estimated that the family has spent over S$1 million grooming the youngster. That’s in addition to the heartache of separation – the family only spend about 3 weeks of together time a year.

“Sorry,Joseph,Colin & May, Sg Let You Down when You Needed Her Most”
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Schooling Strikes Gold, Sets New Olympic 100m Fly Record
Schooling Beats Phelps to Qualify for Fly Semi-Finals

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What Singapore, Singaporeans and the sports fraternity can learn from Schooling’s Olympic heroics
It is a story of nurturing the habit to strive to surpass one’s previous best and reach the next pinnacle of excellence

For a young country starved of Olympic Games success, Joseph Schooling’s superlative achievement in winning an individual gold medal in the 100m Butterfly event at the Rio Olympics deserves due recognition, including Monday’s unprecedented parliamentary motion formally recognising his achievements.

Schooling’s success demonstrates the audacity of belief and faith, backed by his never-say-die work ethic, and a supportive home environment.

These are salutary learning points — not so much about his success but rather how the process and the journey to become the world’s best.

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DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam gives advice on how to create more Schoolings
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Olympic Gold Medalist Joseph Schooling: Singapore is “super hard” to live in and train

In an interview with AFP, Singapore’s only Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling announced that he is leaving Singapore to train in US. The 21-year-old said that he is going to complete his diploma in US and stay there for good.

Probably shattering the hearts of the ruling party PAP elites, the country’s only gold medalist said that Singapore’s environment is unsuitable and “super hard” to live and train.

“I’m going to finish my education up in UT (the University of Texas), get my diploma, and then we can talk about turning pro, that’s the plan.

Olympic Gold Medalist Schooling: Singapore is “super hard” to live in and train
PAP MP Lee Bee Wah: Joseph Schooling got Olympic Gold because of me
Singapore won first Olympic Gold medal with Singapore-born Singaporean

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The mass Schooling hysteria
Singapore’s Olympic gold medallist swimmer Joseph Schooling poses for photos during a victory parade on an open top bus in Singapore August 18, 2016. — Reuters pic

In the lead-up his National Day Rally today, PM Lee posted a preview on his Facebook page where he asks: what sort of country will we and our children live in as we prepare ourselves for the future?

I was watching his National Day message the other day (this was broadcast in the pre-Schooling era) and there too the PM was trying to motivate the nation for another year’s crack at development and progress.

He said: “There, you can see and experience the Singapore that we are building together in the next 50 years — the beautiful Punggol Waterway, the new HDB homes, and the young families strolling or exercising along the park connector.”

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Getting schooled by our Olympians
DREAM & WORK AT IT: Schooling demonstrated through action that when discipline, focus and talent collide, nothing can stop you except yourself. PHOTO: REUTERS

Now that the (gold) dust has finally settled and our swim champ Joseph Schooling returns to his studies and training in the US, it's life as per normal for Singapore.

Or is it? I would like to think not.

Exactly one week ago, he made history and brought this small nation to its feet.

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How Singapore's 21-year-old Joseph Schooling beat his IDOL Michael Phelps
Schooling (right) beat his idol (left) in the 100-meter butterfly in Rio on Friday

An awkward Singaporean schoolboy approached his hero, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, at a training camp in 2008 and asked for a photo.

Eight years later, Joseph Schooling, now 21, beat his idol in the 100-meter butterfly in Rio, securing his tiny republic's first ever Olympic gold.

But who is the Asian champion who set a new Olympic record of 50.39sec on Friday and edged out Phelps?

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Why we cried when Schooling our Singaporean champ won gold at the Olympics

Tears flowed and there has been non-stop euphoric rejoicing by Singaporeans ever since Joseph Schooling won our country’s first Gold Olympic medal for the 100m butterfly event. The win was made even sweeter by the fact that this awesome champion is our homegrown talent and not an imported foreign sports talent brought here and given instant citizenship purely for the sake of winning medals.

Before the defenders of the “Foreign Sports Talent Scheme” and moralising minority start getting prickly and shout “Xenophobia” let me explain why the reaction by Singaporeans is so vastly different for Joseph vis-à-vis the foreign sports talents.

Firstly, let me state that  I understand why there may be a need to import foreign talents for sports and that this is done by other countries too. I also appreciate the fact that all these foreign talents who come here do train very hard (such as the table tennis player Feng Tianwei from China who has sustained serious knee injuries from her training). Most Singaporeans have nothing personal against these foreign sports people. These people took up a great offer from our government and one cannot and should not fault them for that.

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Schooling: the real heroes and the wagonjumpers

Joseph Issac Schooling, born in SIngapore. Father is a 3rd generation Singaporean of mixed English and Eurasian Portuguese heritage. Mother is a Malaysian Chinese who is a singapore PR. She has been living in Singapore for decades but has not taken up Singapore citizenship.

Went to ACS Primary school. After PSLE, his swimming potential was identified by the parents, and they decided to send him to the Jacksonville, Florida to attend the Bolles School, which is a school specializing in training atheletes, in particular swimmers. Bolles has had a swimmer alumnus or student competing in every Olympic games since 1972. Their swimming program was set up by Gregg Troy who was the US Olympic Swim coach for the 2012 Olympic games. Imagine your secondary school swimming coach is a former Olympic swimmer and coached Michael Phelps in the 2012 Olympics!! What a powerhouse your school would be in the pool. because he is an international student, Bolles has a boarding program for its foreign students. The cost of one year of school fees and room and board is USD $47,000. Guess how much the PAP and SNOC contributed to this amount. Zero would be a fair guess.

After he graduated from Bolles, he was offered a swim scholarship at University of Texas, one of the top 5 swimming programs amongst US universities. The Head Coach for the U of T swimming program is Eddie Reese, former head coach of the US Olympics swim team in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. If you know anything about the swim program, you know that nothing is left to chance. Professional full-time dieticians, sports psychologist, strenght and conditioning coaches, multi million weight rooms, etc are all part and parcel of what atheletes get when they go there. But even on a scholarship, its not cheap, with frequent travel to Singapore to compete in the SEA and Asian games and other social visits. Also, out of pocket costs and other costs in USD is also not cheap.

Joseph Schooling qualifies for Men's 100m Butterfly
Joseph Schooling clinches Singapore's first-ever Olympic

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How NOT TO hijack Joseph Schooling’s success

If you have been following all the media reports around Singapore swimmer, Joseph Schooling’s groundbreaking Olympic gold medal win at Rio 2016, it is clear as air who are the parties who should be rightfully attributed for his success.

Joseph Schooling himself for daring to dream big and his nurturing parents, Colin and May Schooling who invested over US$1 million of their own money to fund their son’s Olympic dream, not to mention other non-monetary sacrifices like time away from their only son and adjustments to their family routine and lifestyle.

Being a well brought up gentleman, the young man graciously dedicated his win to all Singaporeans and his birth nation, Singapore:

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Lesson from Joseph Schooling’s olympic victory – invest in true-blue local talent

Joseph Schooling did something what Singaporeans have never done before in history – won a coveted Olympic gold medal against all odds. And he did it his way…

Sent to the US at the age of 14 years old by his parents on their own expense, he scored a historic first after 51 years at the Olympic pools and set off a controversial chain of torrent on how our sports talent should be properly harvested.

Many Singaporeans are happy and proud that Schooling has finally put us on the sporting world map – stuff that the government has tried to do for the past two decades by pouring millions into China third-grade table tennis talents but failed.

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What does an Olympic gold medal mean for the Singapore Dream ?

I think an Olympic Gold medal deserves a quick write-up on this blog even though I should be slowing down for moots preparation.

First of all, like almost everyone here, I was pleasantly surprised at Schooling's Olympic Gold win. I never thought Singapore would actually see a Gold medal in Rio. That being said, I think this win raises a lot of questions about the nature of the Singapore Dream, and just how remote it has become for someone in the middle class to actually attain it:
  • If anything, as talented as Joseph is, luck played a major role in this event.
  • If Joseph had average parents, they would have persuaded him to take the 'A' level path and aimed towards a more regular income instead.
  • If Joseph had been born in an average family with the median household income, even if they wanted to nurture his talent, they would not have been able to send him to a top sports school in the US.
  • If Joseph was not given deferment from NS, the gold may not have happened because of government interference.
  • If Singapore could not get live broadcast rights, even if Joseph had gotten gold, most of us would not have been able to witness it live on TV.
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Everybody loves a Winner

By now probably the whole of Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and maybe some part of the US and the rest of the world knows who Joseph Schooling is. With all the noise generated by the MSM and social media and his photos splashed everywhere, he is probably now more famous and more well known than Phua Chu Kang.

There is no escaping news and photos about Joseph Schooling. Just after he won the gold medal at Rio 2016, social media exploded and is still exploding. Not to be outdone, the main stream media has gone over board with pages after pages of write up from his childhood to his training, to his parents to his BFF. And big large corporate Singapore has jumped on the bandwagon as well, splashing out $$$ to run full page congratulatory ads in the papers.

Everybody loves a winner. Especially if they can cash in on it. So we have MacDonld running a full page congratulatory ad and offering some token chicken nuggets to the public; Brands Essence running another full page ad – does Joseph Schooling drink that stuff in the first place? Not to be outdone, Singtel, SPH and DBS also got into the ad and Grab came out with some half past 6 offers. And Lee Hwa? That ad has to be the most vulgar of all! And most if not all of these ads were run with full page photos of Joseph Schooling. Which brings me to my point.

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The Hardest Way to Earn 1 Million Bucks

Joseph Schooling's recent rise to being the King of Butterfly is a product of his innate passion. According to his father, there was an episode when his 8 years old son woke him up at 4 am in the morning, asking to go for his swimming practice. Imagine the opposite, where the older Schooling tried pushing his son to be a future swimming star, who did not have the passion and interest in the project. Will he have became a champion Olympian? If Joseph Schooling has been fueled by his relentless passion in the past, he probably have to handle the real stress now.

His bandwagon is growing at an incredible rate, filling up with toxic balls of white thrash, I'm not sure if donating a few Toyota Hiluxes to him is enough to handle it. You would think the best reward for Schooling's gold medal effort is wiring him one million bucks before sending his girlfriend to his hotel room but no, he had to pose for pictures with glory snatchers, SIA girls and whatnot. After training like crazy for more than a decade and now to deal with this shit, if I'm Joseph Schooling, I'll think twice about winning in future. That must be the hardest way to win a million bucks. No wonder parents are turning their kids into spinning ballerinas, spell casting mathematics wizards.

Better to sleep in Parliament than to swim your guts out only having to take obligated pictures selfies with glory hunting scum.

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Mark Lin FB - 15 August at 07:06 · Singapore

The Schooling phenomenon is amazing – it stir up so much curry in the pot.

Truthfully, it is never about hard work alone or the capacity to dream big like what PM would have proclaimed. If he followed Meritocracy – Singapore-styled – August 13 would probably be a rather uneventful day. The brutal truth of his success is not just because of the factors above, but because his family did things that are totally Un-Singaporean; like spending more than a million dollars by selling their house and investing painful growing years in providing the best environment to train their son in competitive swimming… with no guarantee of winning of course. The Singaporean-type of cost-benefit practical analysis would have failed miserably – no matter how you weigh them.

The Schooling success, contrary to popular belief, does not reinforce the idea that Singapore-styled Meritocracy works, but seeks to challenge its core philosophy.

This miracle would never have happen if Joseph wasn’t born to this family. Period. If he is born in a different family marred by poverty, family violence and abuse - honestly, what Olympic dreams are we talking about here? Supposedly, he is born in a loving but probably more average middle class family with no million dollar house to sell and support his aspiration, would this miracle be possible? Not likely. Your average Singaporean family ‘might consider’ selling their HDB flat to sponsor their son to study Medicine, but for swimming? Honestly guys – don’t kid yourself.

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Joe Augustin FB - 15 August at 10:16

In 1993, there was an on-air promotion on Class95. It was something called A Time For Our Children. The Class Crew had committed to the dual cause of raising funds AND awareness for The Children's Charities Association and their clients.

Hardly anyone in the building knew nor cared about what we were doing. As a stunt, I had pledged to stay at the station for all 95 hours of that first ever "radiothon" over the weekend. And my girlfriend wondered why the hell I was doing it.

And then it began.

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Joseph Schooling gets to travel for free on AirAsia for life

Seems like the freebies have not stopped.

In case the free carrot cake, 1,000,000 free Krisflyer miles, and Samsung gear weren’t enough, AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes announced on August 24 that all ASEAN gold medalists (yes, that includes our very own golden boy Joseph Schooling) will receive free travel for life on AirAsia.

As a collective, ASEAN athletes amassed a total of 18 medals during the Rio 2016 Olympics. That’s a lot of free travel. Now that Schooling can fly around for free, we can actually play “Where in the world is Schooling?”

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Free flights for life for Schooling and Asean medalists

MALAYSIAN budget carrier AirAsia has offered all Asean Olympic medal winners free flights to thank them for their collective record medal haul at the recently concluded Rio 2016 Games.

AirAsia CEO Mr Tony Fernandes praised the athletes’ efforts in the Games in a post on his Facebook page, stressing the importance of their achievement for the region, saying “Airasia which has its roots in Asean wants to reward those who gave us so much joy”.

A total of five gold medals were clinched by Asean athletes including Vietnamese shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh; Indonesian badminton duo Tontowi Ahmad and Liliana Natsir; Thai weightlifters Sopita Tanasan and Sukanya Srisurat; and Singapore’s own Joseph Schooling. These gold medalists will be given free flights for life on all of AirAsia’s routes.

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"Everyone now wants claim credit on Schooling's Olympic gold medal:
  • The Americans say he was trained there.
  • Malaysians say his mom was from Ipoh.
  • Britain claim that his great grandfather was from Britain.
  • Portugal claim that great grandmother was Portugal-Eurasian.
  • China claim that he is half-Chinese.
But the best part comes from the Philippines. They say that he is brought up by his Filipino maid."

Singapore Daily Sport Scene

– A Singaporea in Australia: The Hardest Way to Earn 1 Million Bucks
– Spore Recalcitrant: Looking at Joseph Schooling’s Gold Medal in perspective
– Zit Seng’s Blog: Congratulating Joseph Schooling
– Mothership: Joe Augustin writes non-political note about cancer management
– Musings From the Lion City: Joseph Schooling’s Deferment
– Kaffein-nated: Joseph Schooling – my heartiest congratulations to you!
– Life of Sporeans: CNA critical of Tiong medal haul, soft on imports table tennis
– The Middle Ground: What lies ahead for Joseph Schooling
– If Only Sporeans Stopped To Think?: How do Olympic athletes pay their bills?
– Dollar&Sense: How Much Schooling Be Getting For His Olympic Gold Medal
– Tots of a Cynical Investor: Schooling: the real heroes and wagonjumpers
– RunEatGossip: Everybody loves a Winner
– Property Soul: How far will you go for your Olympic Gold?
– The Online Citizen: Police investigate Singapore Sports Hub partner
– TREmeritus: FT scheme and Integration a total failure
– The Independent Sg: Blogger gives Schooling detractors ultimate smackdown
– Alvinology: How NOT TO hijack Joseph Schooling’s success
– Mothership: DPM Tharman gives advice how to create more Joseph Schoolings
– Mothership: Thanks to lady’s 1st-class generosity, May got to sit with Jo
– The Middle Ground: Schooling’s Gold win: who gets to take credit?
– Loh and Behold: I Need Schooling on Feelings
– Musings From the Lion City: Welcome Home!!!
– Tan Kin Lian: Quest for Olympic Medals
– S M Ong: Ode to 5039:Why I wasn’t as fast as Schooling to S’pore Pools
– Growing yr tree of prosperity:What Olympic gold medal mean for Spore Dream?
– Transitioning: Lesson frm Schooling’s victory – invest in true-blue local talent
– Revelation is Real 2.0: Singapore’s Schooling
– The Online Citizen: Sports Hub heads must roll
– Five Stars & a Moon: Quah simi? What’s it like being a competitive swimmer?
– the phylactery: Keep quah-iet, lah.
– Alvinology: Leonard Thomas disappoints with more than just bad journalism
– The Independent Singapore: Be patient with Quah Zheng Wen
– The Middle Ground: What to make of Quah’s media snub at the Olympics?
– Mothership: Sports mag criticises Schooling’s soundbites as ‘douchey-sounding
– Tots of Real Sporeans: TNP vs Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen:Another Perspective

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Full Coverage:
Renewed passion for sports or still kiasuism?
Joseph Schooling: Coping with life in the fast lane
Joseph Schooling: Entering a brave new world
Joseph Schooling: Pain behind the glory
If Joseph can do it, so can I
Quest for the holy grail of sport
Time for local firms to support S'pore athletes
Celebrate Singapore's Olympians as a team
Make winning a happy problem
SingPost issues special edition Rio 2016 stamp sheets
The price of a medal, another fine mess and a gender crisis in canoeing
Gold medal not the only prize for most Olympic champions
Schooling's success challenges the narrative of the Spore-styled meritocracy
Sg's sports chiefs reveal how city overtook HK & how they're planning for more
Look who's the latest to congratulate Joseph Schooling on his Olympic gold
The mass Schooling hysteria
Getting schooled by our Olympians
Singapore doesn't deserve a champion like Joseph Schooling
Schooling Is Reason To Keep Olympic Torch Burning

Should Paralympians be on the same reward scheme as Olympians?

Right after news broke that Yip Pin Xiu would be receiving $200,000 for winning a gold at this year’s Paralympics, the discussion online was whether there was a difference between her feat and that of Joseph Schooling’s, and if she should receive the same prize money as him. Schooling received $1 million in reward for his gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

But let’s be clear on two things first.

First, the amount of prize money, Yip said, “Over the years, I’ve always had friends coming up to me and said I should be given more. But I don’t make a hoo-ha about it. Because we don’t do it for the money.”

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