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100m butterfly champ Joseph Schooling does not want to be compared to idol Phelps


08-17-2016 11:00 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

History was made for Singapore in the pool last week at the Games. Joseph Schooling, edged out Michael Phelps in the 100-metre butterfly for the title, and the country's first ever gold medal.

That accomplishment completed a circle that began in 2008. That was when a 13-year-old Schooling met the swimming legend while the US team trained in Singapore before the Beijing Olympics.

That meeting sparked Schooling's desire to become an Olympic champion, and beating his idol was a dream come true, but the Singaporean is reluctant to be discussed alongside Phelps.

Joseph Schooling of Singapore celebrates after the men

Joseph Schooling of Singapore celebrates after the men's 100m butterfly final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 12, 2016. Joseph Schooling won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)

"He's done so much. He's the best Olympian. The most decorated Olympian of all time. The greatest athlete, the greatest Olympic athlete in history. So, no I don't think I want to fill Michael's shoes. I kind of want to make a mark for myself. I want to set the tone, set my own tone. I don't want to be compared to anyone," said Joseph Schooling. 

"If I had to pick, I'd rather be on the top and hold the fort down. So it's a good spot to be in, but it can get really tricky. I think it's easier to catch someone who is above you because you're working and, like, 'I'm going to get this guy'. But I think the hard part right now is trying to stay on top. But for me personally, I like to be on top."

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