‘This is where the real work starts again’: Joseph Schooling on new chapter of life following retirement

Joseph Schooling hopes to inspire the younger generation of Singaporeans after retirement

On Tuesday (2 April), Singaporean Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling announced his retirement from competitive swimming.

He broke the news via an Instagram post, and followed it up with a media session at the Chinese Swimming Club at 9am.

During his press address, the 28-year-old Olympian reflected on his journey over the past two decades.

Calling it a “bittersweet” time for not just himself, but also the people around him, Schooling is looking forward to new beginnings in business and other ventures in life.

“This is where the real work starts all over again,” he said.

A trip to his mother’s office reignited his excitement & prompted his decision

Explaining his decision, Schooling recalled how he used to be “so excited” to get up and start training in the “freezing cold” when he was four years old.

Joseph Schooling retirement

However, he no longer feels the same excitement about training these days, Schooling confessed.

He shared that it was a trip to his mother’s office that sparked a new interest in him to pursue things other than sports.

“I started feeling that same sense of excitement again,” he remarked.

You start questioning yourself: Okay, is this going to last a day or two? A week? A month? But that feeling kept burning brighter and brighter. So, that’s when you know it’s time to move on.

Joseph Schooling still wishes to be the best in his pursuits following retirement from competitive swimming

Still, Schooling expressed that he had mixed feelings towards retirement, saying that he does not like the connotation of the term.

“I don’t like it because it sounds like there is nothing to look forward to next.”

He continued: “As an athlete, we need to have missions, we need to have goals — and I guess it’s the same for everyone.”

“I want to be the best in my field, no matter what I do. I will continue to put the same amount of dedication and the same amount of focus — everything I’ve learnt — into this next phase of my career.”

When asked if it was National Service (NS) that ultimately ended his career, the Olympic gold medalist admitted that the first three months of NS was probably the toughest part for him.

However, he had an epiphany one morning, halfway through his Basic Military Training (BMT): “I woke up and felt like, okay, you know what? You’re in this situation and you just got to roll with it.”

“You don’t fight the tide, you swim with it,” he added, highlighting that he has a lot of respect for his fellow NSmen in the Navy.

That being said, he acknowledged that there could have been a better way to handle things: “Can we do things better? Yes. But, no, NS did not end my career, per se — I ended it on my own terms.”

Olympian wants younger generation to draw inspiration from his story

With his announcement, Schooling hopes to continue using his platform to inspire others, and to “make and help the next generation get better”.

“To all the young swimmers and athletes, artists, or whatever field that you’re in, I hope when they look back at my career, they will realise one thing: Nothing is impossible.”

He elaborated: “There’s no reason why a person half a foot shorter than everyone else in the Olympic final should be where I am today. Physiologically? Unlikely. But yet, here we are.”

”So, I hope to the young kids and parents, that you can draw some inspiration, confidence, and comfort in knowing that the impossible is actually possible”.

Also Read: Joseph Schooling announces retirement from competitive swimming in Instagram post

Joseph Schooling announces retirement from competitive swimming in Instagram post

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Featured image by MS News. Photography by Shawn Low. 

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