Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling
The only athlete with 40 SEA Games gold medals
Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling won 40 gold medals at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games in her 17-year competitive swimming career. Both numbers are records. No other athlete has bagged that many gold medals at the SEA Games and no other Singaporean has been a competitive swimmer for that long.
Joscelin began winning races at swimming meets when she was seven. By the time she was nine, she was training in earnest, with early morning sessions in the pool before going to school. She joined the Singapore swimming team in 1990 and made her SEA Games debut in 1991 in Manila, where she won two silver and three bronze medals. At the next SEA Games, she chalked up her best medal tally of one silver and nine gold medals.
In 1995 Joscelin moved to Australia where, for the next four years, she continued her education and also trained with well-known sports coach Bill Nelson. After four years, she moved to the US where she enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, and trained under the guidance of Michael Walker.
When Michael moved to the University of Texas (Austin), Joscelin also switched university. She was named collegiate All-America swimmer 21 times, and made it to Dean's list with a 3.68 GPA for majoring in Education. She graduated in 2003 with honours in kinesiology and health education. Her impressive sporting career and academic achievement won her a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in the UK, though eventually she did not take it up.
In 2005, after winning six gold medals at the Manila SEA Games, Joscelin set her sights on the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but in January 2007 she announced that she was, at the age of 28, retiring from competitive sports.
Joscelin was named Singapore's Sportsgirl of the Year in 1994, and Sportswoman of the Year in 1993, 1995 and 1999. In 2004 she published her autobiography titled On the Move: My Career, My Story. She was a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2011.
"If you "see rank" when you get in the pool, then more often than not, you’re going to end up being second."