Sharing a medal, and life lessons
According to Darion Pang and Marcus Lim, Joseph Schooling's gold medal from the Rio Olympics weighs a hefty one kilogramme.
That's the weight of a one-litre bottle of water, a small laptop, or an average dictionary, unabridged of course.
The two Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) students would know, they got to wear that piece of Singapore history around their necks when Schooling paid a visit to his alma mater yesterday.
The ACS family of schools prides itself on nurturing boys to grow up in the officer-scholar-gentleman mould, and Schooling has carried himself with a demeanour honouring all that the school stands for.
He perhaps has taken it even further.
When he returned from Rio de Janeiro early on Monday morning, he fought his way through the crowd at Changi Airport to hug his former ACS(J) principal, Peter Tan, as well as his former teacher in charge of swimming, Lee May Po.
Speaking to the local media yesterday, they were both still enamoured with the humility of the 21-year-old sporting pioneer who hasn't forgotten his roots.
On stage at ACS(J) yesterday morning, Schooling parted with the one physical representation of everything he has strived for, with surprising ease and maturity.
Schooling stopped nine-year-old Darion from leaving the stage after the Primary 3 pupil had presented May Schooling with a bouquet of flowers, then slipped the gold medal around his neck and stood back and smiled as the boy's eyes widened.
Schooling's smile grew even bigger, as Darion, with matching graciousness, passed the medal to Marcus who - like everyone in the hall who ooh-ed and aah-ed - also wanted to touch history.
But perhaps the larger lesson Schooling brought to the 1,600 students across the family of ACS schools, was delivered during the question and answer session with a transfixed crowd eager to hear from Singapore's first Olympic gold medallist.
Decked in the red and blue of ACS, Schooling gave a frank discourse on the danger that contentment poses to athletes, all while clutching a shiny gold medal - a testament to wanting more and working harder.
He said: "Don't be content, don't be satisfied. As a kid, when I was six or seven, I've always wanted to be an Olympic champion - that was my ultimate goal.
"It's great to achieve your goals, but you can't be content with achieving your goal for too long."
"You've got to take the positives of what you've got, and you've got to move on - shoot for bigger, better things," added Schooling who already has his name on a plaque on a wall in ACS(J) - as the Old Boys' Association President's Award winner in 2007, an award presented to the most outstanding Co-curricular Activity performance that year.
For the record, gold medals from the Rio Olympics are manufactured using recycled raw silver and weigh only 500g, so perhaps the added gravity that Darion and Marcus felt was everything else that went into earning it.
Schooling's next one could well feel even heavier.