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Joseph Schooling Beat Michael Phelps at Rio. But Long Before That, He Was a Fan

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The swimmer who beat Michael Phelps in the Rio 2016 Olympics’ 100m butterfly wasn’t just a competitor—he was also a fan.

Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, 21, secured his first medal and Singapore’s first gold by beating Phelps, a swimmer he had long admired and whom he met in 2008. A photo of the initial meeting is making rounds on the Internet.

“It’s all kind of a blank really,” Schooling said after beating Phelps. “I need time for all of this to sink in. Just being beside [Phelps], walking alongside him and celebrating—I’ll cherish that for the rest of my life.”

Schooling told the press that Phelps is one of the reasons he wanted to be a better swimmer, and that he’s looked up to him for a long time. “As a kid I wanted to be like him,” said Schooling, the New York Times reports.

Phelps tied for silver with two other swimmers, Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos of South Africa and Laszlo Cseh of Hungary.

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