Hits and misses

Swimmer Joseph Schooling became a national hero 
after winning a historic gold for Singapore. 
Here are some of the top and sob stories of Rio 2016

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Goodbye Rio, hello Tokyo

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COLOURFUL: Rio bids a samba farewell (above) to the Olympic Games.
MEMORABLE: Singapore’s flag-bearer Griselda Khng (above) taking a selfie during the closing ceremony.
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Rio will be remembered for Schooling

2016 Olympics will forever hail Phelps and Bolt, and Singapore's swimming sensation

Joseph Schooling.
Michael Phelps.
Usain Bolt.


He, the swimmer, first became wet at the Games in 2000 in Sydney, at the time only a student of the sport at 15 years old, the youngest male to make a US Olympic swim team in 68 years.

Michael Phelps qualified for only the 200m butterfly final.

He, the sprinter, was just days away from turning 22 when he exploded into our consciousness on his debut at the Beijing Games in 2008, as if he was in a hurry to explain the name.

Usain Bolt won three gold medals, setting three world records.

They didn't start performing incredible Olympic feats together, but their respective journeys at the Games reached the final destination here in Rio and whenever the story of the greatest Olympians is told, Phelps and Bolt will always be central figures.

And the name Joseph Schooling will inevitably emerge, after the 21-year-old Singaporean became the only man to beat the greatest gold miner in Olympic history at the 2016 Games, which came to a colourful conclusion yesterday morning (Singapore time).

In my eyes it was the feat of so many feats at these Games, the most stunning moment in the history of Singapore sport, as Schooling stormed to victory in the men's 100m butterfly at the Olympic Aquatics Centre two Saturdays ago, clocking 50.39sec to set an Olympic record and leave three of the disciplines' finest exponents to share second place.


And Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh could not complain because they were soundly beaten.

After 16 official days of competition, the 2016 Olympics ended with a closing ceremony  of song, dance, samba and Brazilian pride, amidst wintry rain and a howling wind.The locals called the ugly weather a unique blessing, and they gave thanks, perhaps necessary after a successful Games lit up by Phelps and Bolt.

And our Schooling, who rocked the world, and sent a nation seismic, giddy-drunk with joy over its first Olympic gold. 

Like Bolt, Phelps' greatest feat was performed in Beijing eight years after his Olympic bow, when he won eight golds to pip Mark Spitz's previous record haul of seven in Munich in 1972.

And he set seven world records.Many will argue that the 31-year-old is the biggest star of the 2016 Games with five golds, swimming like an ageless wonder to extend his record haul of Olympic wins to 23 and grow his medal collection to 28.There will also be many who will tick the box with the name Bolt next to it because the sprint colossus extended his unbeaten streak to three Olympics now, over nine events in total.

Gymnast Simone Biles was also a giant on her Games debut and is now the darling of her sport.

Brazil's men wore Olympic football gold for the first time and I was moved because a country that gave us the Beautiful Game simply had to end such an ugly streak.

The Olympic Games must always be about the athletes thrilling us and so many have pulled it off here.

And Schooling's moment was the most magical of nights.

Perhaps I'm a biased Singaporean, and a South African will select Wayde van Niekerk's otherworldly 400m sprint to break legend Michael Johnson's world record with a time of 43.03sec.

But a Brazilian journalist told me Schooling's feat was the best performance of the Games, because someone had dared to stand next to him, and beat an in-form Phelps.A South African journalist said it was the feel-good story of the Games.Sports Illustrated's Brian Cazeneuve, a writer with 20 years of experience, was full of praise for Schooling.

I had read the celebrated American magazine's preview issue for the Olympics, where their journalists predicted the result of each event.

For swimming's 100m butterfly, they listed Phelps first, Cseh second and le Clos third.

Speaking to Cazeneuve in SI's fifth floor office at the Main Press Centre, he admitted they had known little of the Singaporean then.

He described the race as "a good whuppin" for Phelps.

Now, they know. 

They will expect much from Tokyo 2020 because Japan always set high standards, and deliver.

The build-up to the first Olympics in South America was ugly, with the Russian drug scandal dominating headlines.

For the first time at an Olympics, everyone came with some form of mosquito repellant because of the threat of the Zika virus.

Visitors were warned of highly skilled pickpockets, stories of brazen muggings in broad daylight made the rounds, the water in the city was unsafe, transportation would be a nightmare.

The organisers did endure some hiccups, but in the end, Rio  hung tough and delivered, and shamed Ryan Lochte and his posse.

So many athletes delivered, and Phelps and Bolt signed off like Olympic gods.

Schooling also stirred the world, and it's my favourite moment of the Games.

Best of all, he's only just getting started.

TNP New Face 2016: Ashley Soo

Ashley Soo.

Ashley Soo, 16

Student at CHIJ Katong Convent Secondary

Ashley is a fan of rock music, but she is all about K-pop these days - more specifically, she has been listening to South Korean boy band Seventeen.

She said: "I was thrown into the world of K-pop by two of my best friends after constantly listening to them blast Korean songs and talk non-stop about it.

"I soon caught on and found myself listening frequently to the groups and I eventually became a fan of the genre."

What other kinds of music do you like?

The last concert I attended was Ed Sheeran's at The Star Theatre last year.

It was such a surreal experience because I was seated just three rows from the stage.

I never thought I would see Ed live and hear him play all his hit songs. It felt insane to witness true talent since he was performing the entire concert with just his guitar and loop pedals.

What is the most exciting thing to happen to you so far?

When I walked the runway at the annual Fashion Steps Out show at Orchard Road in March this year. It was an amazing opportunity.

What do you do to de-stress?

My ways to de-stress include reading a book, watching a movie and exercising.

Where is your favourite place to go to in Singapore and why?

You can find me at any bookstore because I love browsing through the plethora of books available.

Who do you admire most?

Without a doubt, my mother.

She has never once given up on me and she always pushes me to do my best.

Her kind demeanour and positive attitude also never fail to inspire me to be a little more like her every day.

See more at tnp.sg/tnpnewface16

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