SINGAPORE - If he could beat Goliath, so can she.
For 12-year-old Jolie Lim, who is autistic, Joseph Schooling's historic win against American swimming legend Michael Phelps is an inspirational tale about overcoming life's challenges.
To express how she felt, Jolie produced an A3-sized drawing under the encouragement of her mother, Madam Fann Koh.
"She's really inspired by him. The fact that he is Singaporean and did something great, she can relate to it," said Madam Koh, 46.
While Jolie had hoped to meet Schooling to pass him the artwork during his victory parade on Thursday (Aug 18), the Pathlight School student had to sit her Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) oral component in the morning.
As a result, Madam Koh and her daughter could only rush down to Raffles City Shopping Centre, the last stop of the victory parade, at around noon.
However, Jolie is afraid of crowds and was unable to catch a glimpse of the swim star.
At Madam Koh's request, The Straits Times helped to pass on Jolie's drawing to Schooling's minders.
The drawing, which took Jolie three hours to complete, depicts a mouse with a gold medal, beating its larger competitors including an eagle, a cat and a dog.
"She's trying to say that people from small countries can also do big things," said Madam Koh, who explained that the mouse represents Schooling, while the eagle represents Phelps.
"That's a bit like us," the housewife added. "The autism community face a lot of challenges and stigma. She's saying that if he can do it, so can she."
On Thursday night, Schooling responded in an 11-second video, thanking Jolie for her drawing.
He said: “Hey Jolie, this is Joseph Schooling. I got your great picture. I really like it, thank you so much for taking the time to do that. I will treasure it for the rest of my life. Have a good day!”
It was a simple gesture, but one that meant much to Jolie. In a private video sent to Schooling, she replied: “You keep working on those gold medals, and I’ll keep working on those drawings. One day, I’ll be No. 1 like you too.”