Joseph Isaac Schooling

Welcome home, Joseph Isaac Schooling. It is good to see you staying relaxed, good-natured and unfazed, all the brouhaha and attention notwithstanding. You certainly deserve the immense adulation and numerous accolades, and the greatest honour of course, if it can even match the historic moment that you touched that wall ahead of Michael Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laslo Cseh, all amazingly reaching at the same time for the silver but that's another story. 

When you came in first in the heats, I wondered if you had peaked too soon. But your focus on winning was clear, not putting too much on the win. Even when you won the gold, you said it is not as if it is your 22nd or 23rd, showing the same humbleness and respect to your fellow swimmers, all greats in their own right on their day, especially your hero Michael Phelps who went on to win his 23rd. The spirit of comradeship amongst the medallists during the lap of honour was one of the most touching that I have witnessed on the sports arena which epitomises Olympics at its best. This is what true competition is about, the best for the sport above all.  Whether a baton is passed or not, only history will know but with this right spirit, may this be only the beginning. And let not that pressure cooker that is that great, ahem, oft unreasonable, Singapore Expectation ever get to you. 

Rejoice in your family time with your parents, who are heroes in their own right period. Enjoy your chai tow kueh for now. I know the feeling having just painted my away-from-home fried carrot cake cravings in 2 paintings currently exhibiting at Fullerton Hotel.  And this is what I was moved to paint on that historic day - of you breaking out in smiles of joy, and perhaps, relief, during a TV interview by the poolside soon after the triumph. It was an unforgettable expression which I hope I have done justice to. Well done, my compatriot.  

Title:  Jubilation ~ Joseph Isaac Schooling (A61) 
Description: Tribute to Joseph Isaac Schooling, winner of the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympics, attaining Singapore's first-ever Olympic gold medal and in record time. Inspired by the historic images of the triumphant 21-year-old on the podium, with Michael Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laszlo Cseh tied for a silver, and painted on the same day 13 Aug 2016, from a tv interview of our homegrown boy breaking out in smiles of jubilation, and perhaps, relief. Well done, my compatriot.
Medium: Acrylic on Ready-to-Hang Canvas. 
Dimensions: 30 x 23cm.

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