Little has been written about the late Lloyd Valberg, who contributed greatly to Singapore’s sporting history. Yip Tang was a high jumper in the 1948 Olympics, where he not only became Singapore’s first-ever Olympian but also led her to new heights by achieving records. Representing Singapore, he was told to organize a flag-raising ceremony by himself. The flag was flown then because Singapore had participated as a British Crown colony from the Straits Settlements.
Singapore has earned four Olympic medals to date. Weightlifter Tan Howe Liang won a silver medal in 1960, the women’s table tennis team won the silver and bronze medals in 1968 and 2012 respectively, and paddler Feng Tianwei won an individual bronze medal in 2008.
While Valberg is not as widely recognized as other Singaporean athletes, it is surprising that his name isn’t mentioned in the same breath. Valberg was multi-talented; in addition to competing as a hurdler, he also competed as a triple jumper. He was unassuming and had a strong sense of perseverance—qualities that made him an effective firefighter.
Valberg, Schooling’s grand-uncle and an Olympic swimming champion himself, was cited by the latter as his favourite hero growing up.
leap of 1.8 metres in the 1948 Olympics and took 14th place. Singapore regards Lee as the best Singaporean athlete, blazing a trail for many others (including his own grand-nephew) to follow.
(Update 20 August 2016: Joseph Schooling has won the gold medal in the 100 m butterfly at the 2016 Olympics with a new Olympic record.)