Olympics: Ask Joseph some questions, Phelps says after rare silver

RIO DE JANEIRO - When your name is Michael Phelps, it's hard to play second fiddle.

Appearing before journalists after dead-heating for the silver medal in the 100 metres butterfly on Friday, the last individual race of his long career, the most successful Olympian of all time was peppered with questions as gold medallist Joseph Schooling of Singapore sat alongside him.

Gracefully, the American tried to ease out of the spotlight.

"Joe should be getting most of the questions," he eventually told reporters, laughing. "This kid just won a gold medal, guys. Let's ask him some more questions."

When a journalist obliged by asking Schooling how it felt to become "the go-to butterflier in the world right now", the 21-year-old hesitated and glanced to his left at Phelps.

"That's for you bro, don't look at me," Phelps told him.

It was a surreal moment for Schooling, who had just beaten three of the greatest butterfly exponents in Phelps, South Africa's Chad Le Clos and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, all of whom tied for second.

"That sounds like a lot of pressure. I don't think I'm anywhere close to these three guys next to me," he said modestly in reply to the question.

"Today just happened to be a good day for me. I think Chad, Michael and Laszlo should still be the face for butterfly. This is like my first gold medal it's not like I've won 22 or 23."

Phelps shot back: "It's a pretty good one to win, though."

Schooling paid tribute to Phelps as the idol whose inspiration set him on course to become Singapore's first gold medallist in any sport.

"If it wasn't for Michael, I don't think I could have gotten to this point. I wanted to be like him as a kid. I wanted to win. And I think a lot of this is because of Michael, he's the reason I wanted to be a better swimmer."

After the medal ceremony, the pair were deep in conversation on the pool deck, and Schooling said he told Phelps the feeling was 'out of this world'.

"He smiled and said, like, I know," Schooling said. "He's been through it all, and just being beside him, walking beside him and celebrating, I'll really cherish that for the rest of my life."