Singapore

Olympic champion Schooling turns pro, inks deal with Hugo Boss

Olympic gold medallist will be German luxury fashion brand's first Singaporean ambassador

Singapore's only Olympic champion Joseph Schooling has turned professional.

Schooling, who won the men's 100m butterfly in a Games record of 50.39 seconds at the Rio 2016 Olympics, made the announcement after the conclusion of his final National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Swimming and Diving Championships yesterday morning.

"Looking back, I would say I can be proud of my amateur career in general," said the 22-year-old, in a press statement yesterday.

"No doubt, as with every journey, I have had to endure some lows as well as some highs; but every experience has helped me become the person I am today."

German luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss has come on board as the swimming star's first commercial partner. Schooling, a senior at the University of Texas (UT), is the brand's first Singaporean ambassador.

The fashion label's past ambassadors include Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and Swedish professional golfer Henrik Stenson.

Hugo Boss will release a series of short video clips starring the butterfly specialist, with the full video to be revealed at the re-opening of its store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands on May 25. The unisex brand has developed a capsule collection in collaboration with Schooling, to be available on May 25 as well.

"It is a tremendous honour to be part of such an iconic brand," Schooling said.

"Being a Boss brand ambassador is significant to me because the brand's focus on quality and authenticity resonates with me on a personal level."

Hugo Boss South-East Asia managing director Steven Lam is "excited" to have the swimmer on board, saying: "As a youthful talent with a relentless drive for success, he is a perfect fit for the brand."

Other Singaporean athletes who have been brand ambassadors include former footballer Fandi Ahmad, who has endorsed products from Royal Sporting House and Uncle Tobys, and swimmers Tao Li and Amanda Lim, who were ambassadors for a campaign by swimwear label Speedo.

The NCAA has strict rules governing its amateur athletes and forbids them, with certain exceptions, from receiving salaries or prize money that is more than the expenses incurred during competitions.

Formerly a student at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Schooling left Singapore in 2009 to train and study at the Bolles School in Florida, with his parents spending more than $1 million to groom their only child.

SCHOLARSHIP

He was among the first recipients of the Singapore Sport Institute's Sports Excellence Scholarship in 2013 and enrolled in UT in 2014 on a scholarship.

He won the 100- and 200-yard butterfly titles at the NCAAs in 2015 and 2016. Last year, he won a bronze in the 50-yard freestyle and finished second in the 100-yard fly.

Yesterday, Schooling closed his collegiate career with a fourth team title with the Texas Longhorns, but did not win a medal during the four-day meet in Minneapolis.

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