‘All we wanted for you was to be happy’: Joseph Schooling’s mum pens heartfelt letter after his retirement

Mother of Joseph Schooling writes letter after his retirement announcement

The mother of Joseph Schooling, Singapore’s most decorated athlete, has penned a letter to him following his retirement announcement today (2 April).

Titled ‘Letter to my baby, Joseph’, the letter by May Schooling was published in The Straits Times (ST).

“All we wanted for you was to be happy, believe and achieve your dream,” she wrote.

She also expressed how proud she was and thanked him for “taking us on this unbelievable journey and adventure”.

Schooling, who is Singapore’s first and only Olympic gold medalist, had revealed this morning that he was hanging up his goggles and was looking forward to exploring new passions.

May Schooling pens letter to Joseph Schooling

“You will always be the greatest joy in my memories, and also the reason why I stay awake sometimes and worry,” May wrote. “It’s like I closed my eyes for a moment and a beautiful man stands where my baby used to be!”

Source: @cmjschooling on Instagram


She added that she doesn’t know how they “made it there on our own”, but they loved every moment of it.

Although there were many sacrifices for the family, she considered the sacrifices the “glue that kept us, and are still continuing to keep us together”.

“All we wanted for you was to be happy, believe and achieve your dream,” May noted.

May also added that Joseph, through his dream of becoming an Olympic champion, had helped many people in Singapore “understand that while dreams may be elusive, they are not impossible”.

“They can now believe in your motto, ‘Dare to Dream’!” she said.

Proud that he is moving on to his next stage of life

May added that she hopes he would believe deep in his heart that he is capable of doing anything once he sets his mind to it.

“You never lose. You either win or learn,” she said.

As both of them transition to the next phase of life, she said she couldn’t be “more proud of the man you are and will be”.

Joseph had said in an interview with ST that he would be entering the venture capital space with two partners. They’ll focus on three pillars: health and wellness, tech, and sustainability.

“You’ve moved into Dad’s office, working there and making plans,” May said. Joseph’s father, Colin, passed away from cancer in 2021.

Pointing out that she’s excited for the future, she added that she knows he’ll put the “same determination, focus and hard work into what comes next”.

I cannot promise that I will be there for the rest of your life, but I do promise that I love you more than anything else in the world, and I will love you for the rest of my life.

Announced retirement

Joseph in his announcement said he is looking forward to new adventures.

“I am eager to explore new passions, face different challenges, and see where this next phase of life takes me,” he said in a post on social media, thanking his supporters for standing by him.

After achieving what no one in Singapore has ever done — win an Olympic gold medal in 2016 — he continued competitive swimming, but never bettered the record he set in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2022, he was embroiled in a scandal when he admitted he’d consumed cannabis overseas while in Vietnam for the SEA Games that year.

His right to take short-term disruptions from National Service was revoked, and subsequently, he was not selected for the Asian Games in Hangzhou that took place last year.

“Complacency,” Joseph said in the ST interview, when asked what had happened, admitting he’d become “overconfident”.

“Entitled, actually, would be the direct way to put it. I felt like I didn’t need to work as hard any more because I got to that level.”

But Joseph also shared that though he will no longer swim competitively, his legacy will always be in the pool through his swim school, Swim Schooling, which he opened in 2018.

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Featured image adapted from Joseph Schooling on Facebook.

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