Olympics: How international media reported Joseph Schooling's historic win

Gold medallist Joseph Schooling holds the national flag while posing with joint silver medallists Michael Phelps of USA, Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.
Gold medallist Joseph Schooling holds the national flag while posing with joint silver medallists Michael Phelps of USA, Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Joseph Schooling, a 21-year-old swimmer from Singapore, beat the most decorated Olympian of all time in possibly the latter's last individual race ever.

This was how international English-language media characterised the 100m butterfly race in which Schooling won on Saturday (Aug 13) morning.

It was historic for Singapore, having finally won its first gold medal in any sport at the Games, but the race will also go down in sporting history as the first time there was a three-way tie in a swimming event.

Schooling won handily with a time of 50.39sec, an Olympic record.

Defending champion Michael Phelps of the United States, Chad le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary tied for second with 51.14sec.

The BBC noted that Schooling "was always in control", denying Phelps a fourth successive gold in the 100m butterfly by Schooling.

The Agence France-Presse called Schooling an "upstart".

"Schooling, 21, strayed from the script that had laid out 31-year-old Phelps would get a 23rd career gold medal and fifth of the week in the 100 metres butterfly," the wire agency said.

For many, the win was unexpected, and Schooling an outside chance in a field of long-time foes and world champions.

The New York Times had to headline its article "Somebody (His Name's Joseph Schooling) Finally Beats Michael Phelps".

Well, Schooling certainly is somebody now.

The Associated Press commented that it was strange to see Michael Phelps, used to being in a league of his own, crowd onto a medal stand with two other swimmers.

But it added: "In a changing of the guard that left him totally at peace, Phelps was beaten Friday by a 21-year-old who grew up idolising the most decorated athlete in Olympic history."

 

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Phelps has reigned for so long in a career that spanned 24 years that a whole generation of new swimmers who looked up to him are now his competitors, said The Guardian.

Schooling is not the only bemedalled athlete to have photos taken with Phelps when they were younger, the British paper said.

"Katie Ledecky has one, which was taken when she was nine. So does Daiya Seto, the 22-year-old from Japan who won bronze in the 400m medley."

 

Swimswam, a swimming news site, said that Phelps' silver medal was the best way to end his celebrated career.

Not only was he tied with two swimmers whose names were entwined with his - le Clos and Cseh, it was the "passing of the torch that defines Phelps' influence on the sport", it said.

The site also pointed out that Schooling's time is now the fastest time in the 100m butterfly ever swum in a textile swimsuit.

The current world record of 49.82sec was set by Phelps in 2009, and it was accomplished in a performance-boosting polyurethane suit. Such suits have since been banned.

The last record before high-tech suits was 50.40sec, held by Ian Crocker of the United States.

"Schooling of Singapore broke the record by one one-hundredth of a second, swimming a 50.39 to beat Phelps to the wall," the article said.