Depending on how you look at it, Joseph Schooling is either at the tail end of his career or just getting started. Singapore’s first and only Olympic gold medallist might be on his last lap as a competitive swimmer. The forthcoming Tokyo Olympics will likely be his swansong after almost two decades in the pool.
Yet, his future outside of the pool has him on the starting blocks, eager to take the plunge.
“The first thing I think about is: glass half full or glass half empty,” says Schooling, who turns 26 this month. “I like the second one better. It’s like a spring, diving off a block into what’s next.”
Regardless of what the reigning 100-metre butterfly Olympic champion and two-time Asian Games winner decides, Schooling already has written himself into the annals of Singapore’s history as one of its most successful athletes. Medals aside, Schooling has amassed more than $1 million under the Singapore National Olympic Council’s Multi-million Dollar Award Programme, which hands out cash awards for winning medals at major sporting competitions.
Listen to Joseph Schooling in conversation with Tatler’s Marc Lim here:
Outside of the pool, his commercial deals with international brands have reportedly also earned him a seven-figure sum. Schooling is an ambassador for Toyota, which sees him drive around in a spanking new Supra; Hugo Boss, which launched a red-carpet event for him with Chris Hemsworth in attendance; and Tag Heuer. He also inked a three-year sponsorship deal with DBS Bank. Only former footballing star Fandi Ahmad comes close to matching the swimmer’s star power.
There has been talk that a job in wealth management is already on the table whenever Schooling, an economics major from the University of Texas at Austin, is ready to take it. He has also launched his own swim school, Swim Schooling, and a fitness app, Schooling Sport, which provides exercise and training plans with interactive audio coaching.