Michael Phelps : dilemma of a young role model

February 10, 2009

He captured the hearts of millions worldwide when he swam to Olympic history last August.  He achieved a phenomenon that will not be repeated maybe in several decades.  Young, hip, affluent now because of his lucrative endorsements, Michael Phelps is on top of his game.

Then this week saw  that horrific image of him taken at a party somewhere.  The sports hero sniffing marijuana.

A picture of a well-loved and well-admired athlete hurting millions of people who adored him.

But the world is in so much pain to really make a big fuzz about Michael’s error in judgment.  While Kellogg removed his endorsements, others  are simply waiting for the whole issue to die down, especially since the stimulus package of Barrack Obama is grabbing the headlines these days.

We have seen this many times. Our heroic athletes “betray” our perception of them when they commit mistakes that make us cringe and ask what in the world were they thinking?!

One of the things that athletes have not fully considered is the fact that they are being admired not just for some special talents or abilities. The admiration they are receiving comes from the humanity that is elated at the possibilities of someone just doing it brighter, someone doing it higher, faster and stronger….

Yes they are already this generation’s icons.

Michael Phelps need to understand that world-class athletes like him are admired for who he is – and not just some dissociated parts of what he is.


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