Joseph Schooling finally received his $1 million prize money on Thursday (24 November) after beating former Olympic winner, Micheal Phelps, and earned Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal at the 100m butterfly event at Rio Olympics 2016.
The prize is part of the Singapore National Olympic Council’s (SNOC) multi-million dollar awards programme (MAP).
Tote Board chairman Moses Lee, together with guest of honour SNOC president Tan Chuan-Jin and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu presented the cheque to Schooling at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
In his speech after receiving the prize, Schooling said, “It’s great support from (the Tote Board). I don’t think a lot of people will offer that much money to people that easily and that just goes to show how genuine they are and how invested they are in the sporting scene in Singapore, and that’s really sweet.”
Mr Tan also gave a speech to honour the 21-year-old man, saying, “I had the privilege to be in Rio to support our athletes and officials and to witness the tenacity of our athletes as they put in their best efforts to compete against the best in the world.”
“I witnessed the camaraderie of Team Singapore, displayed when athletes of different sports come together to form friendships, cheer each other on and encourage one another when times were tough. What I witnessed truly exemplifies the spirit of Team Singapore,” he added.
When he was interviewed by reporters outside the venue, Schooling said that he do not know what to do with the money.
“Give it to my parents, I guess. I’ll either put it in the bank, invest it, I don’t know. What does a college kid need (to do) with all that money?” he said.
Then he added, “I’m just happy to be able to receive that support and the rest is up to my parents. I’m just going back to school, doing my thing over there. I don’t need that, but it’s nice. I appreciate it.”
However, as stipulated by the terms and condition of MAP, Schooling will give 20 per cent of that amount to the Singapore Swimming Association for its training and development schemes and the amount is taxable too.