Joseph Schooling fever hit new peaks yesterday as thousands of Singaporeans showed up at his three- stop victory parade to celebrate with the country's first Olympic gold medallist.
The parade saw the butterfly specialist hopping from Marine Terrace Market to Singtel Comcentre before ending at Raffles City Shopping Centre on an open-top bus.
The event rounded off his homecoming. The University of Texas at Austin student arrived home from Rio de Janeiro on Monday, and left for the United States this morning.
Yesterday, Schooling told The Straits Times: "The victory parade was amazing. I can't thank everyone enough. I am very sorry I could not get to all who showed up, but I am sure there will be a next time."
Fans will get another chance to see him in November, when he will be back for a week for a Singapore Swimming Association fund-raiser.
With him yesterday were his parents Colin and May, long-time domestic helper Yolanda Pascual and close friend and national swimmer Teo Zhen Ren, among others.
Fans packed the pit stops and lined the route, waving mini Singapore flags and chanting his name. Some held placards, others tried to pass gifts, while many simply screamed when they saw him.
His presence did, however, cause two minor traffic accidents as distracted drivers paid too much attention to him and not the road.
At Raffles City Shopping Centre, people saw a replay of his historic 100m fly final, where he beat Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh to clinch gold in an Olympic record of 50.39 seconds. The crowd then sang the National Anthem.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, president of the Singapore National Olympic Council, joined in the fun at the final stop as they met him for a private gathering.