Let's have a Schooling-Phelps reunion in Singapore
REPORTING FROM RIO
They have been talking a lot here, like old friends.
There was that remarkable little fist bump in the quiet of a room before they went out into the frenzied din to try and beat each other.
There was that stroll around the arena with medals around their neck, chatty and animated.
Michael Phelps says he's been following the progress of the young prodigy, and given him the nod.
Approval, if you like, from the Godfather of swimming.
Ask Joseph Schooling, he'll agree.
Phelps is probably the most powerful man in the sport today.
Today, Schooling is one of the smiling faces of swimming, the toast of a nation, the only man who dared bring down the Godfather at the 2016 Olympics, and will live to tell the tale for a long, long time.
Maybe, Schooling can get his friend to Singapore and they can retell the story of Rio, where two fast swimming men morphed into two fast butterfliers and finished first and second.
That will be a double act not to be missed, Singaporeans will be transfixed, it will be another tool, after Schooling's swim of 50.39sec, to make us all sports-mad again.
Schooling, just 21, sent Singapore into a seismic frenzy and eternal swoon when he became a history-maker by winning the country's first Olympic gold in the men's 100m butterfly on Saturday morning (Singapore time).
He inspires, he is proof the Schooling way is the right way and he has more swimming milestones to chase.
Phelps has had enough of getting wet, the 31-year-old father of young Boomer is set to get married with a truckload of Olympic gold bullion in tow.
Perhaps the Singapore National Olympic Council and the Singapore Swimming Association can invite the American trailblazer our way.
And after a chat with the Singaporean trailblazer, and now the country's sports ambassador, it is possible that Phelps may come.
Because there is a genuine warmth between the two of them and it has been wonderful to watch here.
At the post-race press conference a little over an hour after the historic contest at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, I heard Phelps tell Schooling he would not be able to sleep that night.
The superstar was peppered with questions and soon urged the media to direct their attention to the man sitting on his right, who had just won gold.
He thought it only right.
Schooling didn't care. Nor did South African Chad le Clos or Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, the two stars who had tied Phelps for second in a first for Olympic swimming.
They all understand what Phelps has accomplished, what he has done for the sport, and what he has done for them.
That picture of the future Olympic champion and his idol taken in Singapore in 2008 has now become world famous.
Maybe in the next couple of weeks, it will be on American television as Jimmy Fallon talks to the two men.
In an Olympics where the Lion City roared, I saw a remarkable friendship.
Between THE GREATEST and the one who wanted to be like him.
Do us a favour Joe, get your friend Mike to Singapore.
We want to hear the two of you tell us the story of Rio, all over again.
I think the whole of Singapore is elated, filled with pride over Joseph Schooling's historic achievements.When we deferred him in 2013 so that he could compete - train, compete for the Olympics - it was based on known conditions that I already explained to Parliament. And if he continues to meet those conditions, I don't see why not. The conditions have been always quite clear, and if sportsmen achieve those conditions, we've had no problem in granting (them) deferment.
- Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, speaking to the Straits Times yesterday, on whether Joseph Schooling will be allowed to continue his deferment from National Service
I think we should take it a step at a time. Let's see how it unfolds.
- Dr Ng on whether Schooling would be exempted entirely from having to serve NS
We are still trying to confirm how long he is here in Singapore before he returns for his studies, and we are currently planning for some form of a street parade for him.
— CEO of Sport Singapore Lim Teck Yin, speaking at an ActiveSG Football Academy event yesterday to announce a partnership with S-League club Geylang International, on plans for an open-top bus victory parade this week for Joseph Schooling