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Olympian Joseph Schooling Apologizes for Smoking Weed Amid Backlash

Joseph Schooling was an Olympic swimmer and gold medalist. He later apologized to his Singaporean friends for having smoked marijuana in Vietnam. Singapore’s drug laws are among the strictest in the world, and the stigma there is strong.

He was in Hanoi Vietnam for schooling, winning two gold medals. While he competed at the Hanoi 2022 Southeast Asian Games (SEA), he was also caught on camera smoking marijuana.

Heads are spinning at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Singapore Ministry of Defence after they learned of Schooling’s pot use from the country’s Central Narcotics Bureau. In a press release on August 30, the Singapore Ministry of Defence announced that Schooling would be subject to drug testing over the course of six months.

“The Central Narcotics Bureau has concluded its investigations on PTE Joseph Schooling, and handed over the management of the case to the SAF, as he is a full-time National Serviceman,” the release reads. “Urine tests for controlled drugs conducted on PTE Joseph Schooling returned negative. PTE Schooling nevertheless admitted that he had consumed cannabis abroad in May 2022 when he was short-term disabled from full time National Service (NS). This allowed him to train in and take part in the Southeast Asian Games.

“Following existing protocol, PTE Schooling will be placed on a supervised urine test regime for six months. All SAF personnel who test positive during this regime will be charged and sentenced accordingly.”

Lancaster Online According to reports, Schooling made an Instagram apology in a post that has since been deleted.

“I gave in to a moment of weakness after going through a very tough period of my life,” Schooling said in a message posted Tuesday night on Instagram. “I am sorry that my actions have caused hurt to everyone around me, especially to my family and the young fans who look up to me.”

“I made a mistake and I’m responsible for what I’ve done. I am going to make amends, and correct what has gone wrong. I won’t let you down again,” the post reads.

Yahoo! News Editor Chia Han Keong wrote an op-ed, saying that Schooling deserves empathy—not backlash—for a crime as small as cannabis. In the meantime, Schooling’s entire reputation is on the line.

Schooling vs. Phelps

In 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Schooling beat Michael Phelps—the most decorated Olympian of all time—at the 100-meter butterfly. Schooling has described Phelps as his “idol” and was enthralled to beat him at his own game.

The school sent him to the Olympics during his time at the University of Texas. He was trying to defend the 100-meter butterfly title he held at Tokyo Olympics 2021 when he was eliminated.

Ironically, Phelps was made to apologize for smoking marijuana in America by the British tabloid. In 2008, a photograph of Phelps using a bong went viral. It would have been normal for any 23-year old.

“I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way,” Phelps said in a statement. Phelps, like Schooling probably couldn’t help but publicly apologize for his use of marijuana.

“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. “I’m 23 years old, and despite the successes I have had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner that people have come to expect from me,” Phelps said. “For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public—it will not happen again.”

Phelps smoked weed as a teenager, but he is still one of the most respected and well-respected marijuana smokers in America. The fastest swimmer alive. Compare it to Usain Bolt who is an advocate for cannabis businesses and the fastest runner alive. 

That said, it’s probably not fair to associate cannabis with slowing down our physical bodies. In the professional world of sports, however, it’s a whole different story.