'Thank you for being our Olympic champion': Tributes pour in for Joseph Schooling after news of retirement

A legend.

Amber Tay | April 02, 2024, 03:37 PM



Joseph Schooling has announced his retirement on Apr. 2, 2024.

The 28-year-old said in a Facebook post:

"I am eager to explore new passions, face different challenges, and see where this next phase of life takes me. Thank you to my supporters for standing by me every step of the way. I hope you will join me as I embark on this new adventure."

Shortly after the news broke, politicians, celebrities, coaches, and other notable figures took to social media to pay tribute to the swimmer's outstanding career.

Tharman Shanmugaratnam

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam dedicated a Facebook post to Schooling's accomplishments, and said Schooling showed "what it means to have the hunger to excel."

Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked Schooling in a comment on his Facebook post for flying Singapore's flag high and wished him the best for his next chapter.

Screenshot via Joseph Isaac Schooling/Facebook

Lawrence Wong

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong conveyed his well wishes to the former Singapore athlete, and said Schooling showed everyone "that it is possible to pursue a different pathway, one based on our own purpose and interests, take pride in it, and excel at the highest levels."

Edwin Tong

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong recalled in a post on social media the race which saw Schooling come out on top decorated swimmers like Michael Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laszlo Cseh.

"To be in the same race, lining up against Michael Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laszlo Cseh was a dream all by itself. All three are multiple World and Olympic decorated swimmers - three of the best of all time, from three different continents, all of them legends.

But in Lane 4 was our own champion, Joseph Schooling, from Singapore. I would bet some commentators had to look up where that was."

Sharing how Schooling had managed to put Singapore on the world map when he clinched the gold, Tong added that "he crushed it so much that Phelps, Le Clos and Cseh all tied for the Silver, which itself underscored the quality of that race".

"However, as Jo retires today, with a cupboard full of other medals from more than a decade of major competitions, we remember him not for his medals, but for the belief he has given us," Tong said.

Tong continued:

"The power of first believing in ourselves that we can achieve, and then going on to do it. He has given us an experience we have never had - pride, honour and glory on the world sporting stage with the pinnacle of an Olympic Gold, inspiring generations who follow him to aim for the same heady heights and believing in themselves."

Tong also mentioned when Schooling competed during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but failed to get out of the heats. He noted how the swimmer "took it all on, no excuses, and faced up to his failure".

"That is also a mark of a true champion," Tong remarked.

Tong ended his post thanking Schooling and his parents, and "most importantly, for showing us that it is possible to come from Singapore and still be a champion, and an Olympic one at that!"

Team Singapore

Team Singapore also dedicated a post to Schooling, noting that the next chapter of his career begins.

"We can't wait to see what incredible things you achieve next!" they said.

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A post shared by Team Singapore (@teamsingapore)

Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC)

The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) also paid tribute to Schooling in a video documenting his journey and achivements.

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A post shared by SNOC (@sgolympics)

Soh Rui Yong

National long-distance runner Soh Rui Yong said he was sad to hear of Schooling's retirement but feels blessed to have been a Team Singapore athlete at the same time as him.

"Our one and only Olympic Champion who succeeded despite all the challenges faced being an athlete in Singapore’s system," Soh wrote. "His story will inspire not just swimmers but athletes from all sports to dream big and train hard for years to come."

He also dedicated a Instagram story to the Olympic swimmer, captioned: "Happy retirement. You're a blessing to us all."

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A post shared by Soh Rui Yong 🇸🇬 (苏睿勇) (@runsohfast)

Sergio López Miró

Schooling's swimming coach Sergio López Miró expressed how proud he was of Schooling in an Instagram post.

"Just stay the course, find the positives of the negatives and keep your passion burning," he added.

Leong Mun Wai

Leong Mun Wai, who recently stepped down as Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), said on Facebook, "While I’m sad to see him retire from competitive swimming, I’m happy that he has the courage to start a new chapter for himself."

He wished Schooling all the best, and hoped that Schooling's gold medal win "will never cease to be a source of inspiration and pride for Singaporeans."

Danny Chrisnanta

Singaporean former badminton player and coach Danny Chrisnanta, who was born in Indonesia, wished Schooling a happy retirement, and shared a photo of them together.

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A post shared by Danny Chrisnanta | Badminton Coach (@dannychrisnanta)

Benjamin Kheng

Singaporean singer-songwriter and former national youth swimmer Benjamin Kheng took to Instagram to share a message, as well as a photo of the pair together.

One of his Instagram stories read, "enjoy retirement. Thanks for inspiring us all".

Screenshot via @benjaminkheng/Instagram

Screenshot via @benjaminkheng/Instagram

Glenn Yong

Singaporean actor and singer Glenn Yong reposted Joseph Schooling's original post announcing his retirement and wrote, "you'll forever be a legend brother. Enjoy retirement and your new phase of life."

Edward Russell

Television  and radio presenter Edward Russell reminisced on the time Schooling won Singapore's first ever gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

In an Instagram story, Russell recalled his reaction to Schooling's Olympic win: "I still remember jumping up and down in the Fox office at Rio like an absolute idiot."

Sonia Chew

987 DJ and Mediacorp personality Sonia Chew posted a 2018 photo of her, Schooling and Joakim Gomez on Instagram.

Joakim Gomez

987 DJ Joakim Gomez also posted a photo of himself with Schooling, taken during the latter's victory parade at Raffles City back in 2016.

"Made all of us dream. Made all of us believe. Made more parents sign their kids up for swimming lessons as well," Gomez said jokingly. "Thank you, @josephschooling! Nothing but love you, brother!'

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A post shared by Joakim Gomez (@joakimgomez)

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@mothershipsg Joseph Schooling announced his retirement from competitive swimming earlier today. #tiktoksg #sgnews ♬ original sound - Mothership

Top image via @edwintongInstagram, Leong Mun Wai / FB and @runsohfast/Instagram