SINGAPORE: Hugo Boss has named Olympic champion Joseph Schooling as its first Singaporean ambassador.
Completing his transition from the collegiate swim scene in the United States, Schooling also announced that he has turned professional, after swimming the final National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition of his amateur career last weekend.
“As a youthful talent with a relentless drive for success, he is a perfect fit for the brand,” said Mr Steven Lam, managing director of Hugo Boss in Southeast Asia. “His path to victory is a continual, ever-evolving journey that he approaches with dedication, precision and confidence."
The company also released a capsule collection in collaboration with Schooling, which is now available in local stores of the German brand.
Said the 2016 Olympic gold medallist on his ambassadorial role: "It is a tremendous honour to be part of such an iconic brand,” he said. “(Its) focus on quality and authenticity resonates with me on a personal level."
“Looking back, I would say I can be proud of my amateur career in general,” said Schooling, on his transition to being a professional athlete. “No doubt - as with every journey - I have had to endure some lows as well as some highs.”
“Every experience has helped me become the person I am today,” he added.
This is the first of more commercial partnerships to be announced and Schooling’s parents Colin and May said they believe their son now has a good foundation to ease into the professional scene.
“For sure, Joseph has done amazingly well, and we are extremely proud of him,” said his mother May.
Added Schooling’s father Colin: “We are aware of the intricacies that come along with being an athlete going to the next step in his career. We believe we have the resources capable of easing the transition."
The Olympic champion is Hugo Boss' first swimmer in its collection of sports sponsorships. The brand also sponsors golfer Henrik Stenson, the German national football team, Formula E motorsports, as well as a sailing team.
MEDAL-LESS END TO NCAA CAREER
Schooling’s signing with Boss as their ambassador is a timely one. The 22-year-old did not engage in big money sponsorships during his collegiate stint with the University of Texas (UT) swim team, due to the NCAA’s strict rules on commercial deals.
His final NCAA meet last week did not go as planned in Minneapolis, as he finished without a medal in the four-day competition.
The Olympic champion finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly event, which is his pet event, with a time of 44.68 seconds. It was some distance from his personal best of 43.75 seconds set last year.
His rival Caeleb Dressel, meanwhile, set a new meet record in the 100-yard fly, with his time of 42.80 seconds.
Schooling also did not podium in his other individual swims last week, finishing 13th in the 50-yard freestyle and 26th in the heats of the 200-yard butterfly.
His prior achievements in college include winning the 100-yard and 200-yard Butterfly Final in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, however, he finished second in the 100-yard event behind the fast-rising Dressel of University of Florida.
Joining UT on a scholarship in 2014, Schooling was previously from Bolles School in Florida. He enrolled in 2009 after leaving Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in Singapore.