Senior sports correspondent Rohit Brijnath has covered five Olympic Games, four Asian Games and a host of tennis Grand Slams in nearly 30 years as a journalist, but for him, Joseph Schooling's gold medal at the Rio Olympics was "one of the most extraordinary things" he has seen.
"A lot of people have potential; I think to translate that into performance is the most difficult thing in sport," said the 54-year-old, who has been with The Straits Times since 2007.
"To do it at that specific moment against the best athletes in the world when you come from a country where nobody has ever done it before... that's almost outrageous."
In Brazil, 21-year-old Schooling defeated a world-class field that included 22-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh in the 100m butterfly final to capture Singapore's first Olympic gold medal and set a new Olympic record of 50.39sec.
His journey to that historic feat has been chronicled in a book by Mr Brijnath and former Straits Times sports correspondent Chan U-Gene.
Mr Brijnath wrote the prologue and epilogue of the book, while the main text was provided by Mr Chan.
Titled Schooling Joseph, it draws from more than a decade of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) coverage of the national swimmer, and documents the years from when he first started swimming as a child, his relocation to the United States and, finally, his crowning moment in Rio.
Mr Chan, 33, who was with The Straits Times for more than five years, said Schooling's story was "inspiration for national cohesion".
He has known Schooling since the latter was 14, and added: "On a national level, I think few sports besides football can actually unite a nation, but I think what Joseph has achieved on the world stage has elevated his sport to that level.
"It's amazing watching his phenomenal progress; he was 14 when he told me he wanted to win an Olympic gold medal, and to actually watch him go through all the trials to achieve what he said he wanted to when he was 14... I was there for the whole journey, and he has made me a fan."
The 148-page book also features intimate family photos of the Olympic champion as a toddler and motivational notes written by his mother, May.
Schooling's father, Colin, said: "If anybody wants to know the journey that Joseph has taken, this book tells you everything in detail. It's written extremely well by U-Gene and Rohit, with the details and facts gathered very well-summarised. If anybody wants to know of his journey, I do not need to repeat it - I will tell them to buy Schooling Joseph."
Schooling Joseph is one of two authorised biographies published by Straits Times Press.
The second book, titled From Kid To King, is a children's book written by Straits Times news editor Marc Lim, who was formerly the paper's sports editor. The book also features illustrations from Ministry of Communications and Information scholar Darel Seow.
Schooling will sign 22 pre-sold limited-edition copies of Schooling Joseph at SPH's News Centre in Toa Payoh North on Monday, Nov 21.
He will also read From Kid To King to a group of Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) beneficiaries.
The public can buy the books at the event from noon to 4pm. From 1pm, Schooling will sign book copies from the first 50 buyers in the queue. Straits Times Press will donate 20 per cent of all book sale proceeds to STSPMF.
- From Kid To King is retailing for $16 (including GST), while Schooling Joseph is $27.82 (including GST). Both books are available at leading bookstores here.