Aunty Yolly: The Filipina nanny behind Singapore's Joseph Schooling
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – One of the most shocking moments of the 2016 Rio Olympics took place on Friday, August 12 (Saturday morning, Manila time), when 21-year-old Singaporean Joseph Schooling won gold in the men’s 100m butterfly division of swimming by defeating 7 others, including Michael Phelps.
The American Phelps, who was gunning for his fourth gold medal in Rio and 23rd overall, came in second tied with swimmers from South Africa and Hungary.
Schooling also won the first ever gold medal for Singapore and became the first ever Southeast Asian male gold medalist in the Olympic Games.
Later on Saturday, a YouTube clip by Singapore-based company Singtel which was released in June 2015 made rounds. The clip features Auntie Yolly, a nanny who helped raised the gold medalist and has known him for 19 years.
As the video went viral, many have assumed that Yolly is from the Philippines because of her Filipino-like accent. A story from The Straits Times posted Sunday, August 14 confirmed Yolly is, indeed, a Filipino and whose full name is Yolanda Pascual.
The 56-year-old began working for the Schooling family in 1997, the Straits Times story said, and has witnessed Schooling's growth from boyhood to an Olympic gold medalist.
In the interview, Yolly shares her close bond with Schooling and how she was left in tears after watching him succeed in Rio.
"When I miss him, I read our messages (on the phone). He's like my own son," Yolly, a mother of two girls, was quoted as saying.
Yolly was one of those whom Schooling confided in about his dream to one day be like Phelps, whom the rising swimmer met as a boy.
"He'll always say 'I want to be No. 1'. I remember once we were watching (Michael) Phelps on TV, he told me he wanted to be there and be like him, and I knew he could do it. He has a very strong will; if he wants something, he'll get it."
Yolly was also a witness to Schooling's sacrifices and struggles, such as prioritizing practices over going out with his friends.
"He told me when he was very tired, and I'd give him a massage," she shared. "Even now, when he comes back, he still asks for massages and he's still like the young boy he was before he left."
“I don’t think I could have a better second mom or nanny by my side to help me through all this,” Schooling said of Yolly in the video.
Rappler tried to reach out to Pascual, and has yet to get a response. – Rappler.com