“No one usually stands ahead of Michael on the podium,” Joseph Schooling said, wryly aware of the large dollop of understatement contained within that phrase.
The 22-year-old is looking back at one of the most exciting races of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the Michael he is talking about is Phelps, the USA’s 23-time Olympic swimming gold medallist. The Olympic Games’ most decorated athlete of all-time was going for his fourth consecutive gold in the men’s 100m butterfly. There was also the small matter of 2013 and 2015 100m butterfly world champion Chad Le Clos and 2015 200m butterfly World Championship gold medallist Laszlo Cseh on the blocks.
“All I remember is walking out. It was an exciting feeling. I was very nervous, everything was at a high, all my senses were at a high,” Schooling recalled.