Sporting Celebrities

Gladiator

While the world’s media has always been hot on the heels of sporting high-flyers, recent frenzy around the tragic events unfolding in South Africa, gave a whole new meaning to the expression ‘ court of public opinion.’

Before Oscar Pistorius  shot his girlfriend, I was only remotely aware of him and his outstanding achievements.  The morning I saw the story on the front page of my local paper, sea of sadness at the terrible tragedy washed over me.  Since than hardly day goes by without hearing about it on every news media conceivable. Facts and speculations, theories and opinions. Despite such extensive coverage, not for a moment  did I think to know the facts. Not only because of obvious  sensationalism, but because every such case is complex, and multi-layered.  All I know is what has been reported and aired.  Beautiful young woman dead by hand of her sporting celebrity boyfriend.  Heartbreaking in every sense.

While Oscar’s story is the most tragic, it is also the last one in what is shaping into a long list of recent sporting scandals. Scandals in which sporting high achievers, public first made into, and then proceeded to treat in a god-come-celebrity fashion,  fall from favor with such speed and force that makes their landings fatal.

Think Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, the revelations emerging from the ‘Operation Puerto trial’ in Spain, and the disappointing picture the Australian Crime Commission investigation into organised crime and drugs recently painted, prompting the Wada director general to admit the problem is ‘getting too big for sport to manage’. It has been reported that doping in sport is now worse than ever, and a new trans-national body is necessary to combat wide-ranging corruption according to Wada.

There is no doubt that performance enactment through acceptable, as well as, non-acceptable means has always been part of top sporting professionals. However, the recent upsurge in illegal activities and what seems strong and well-established links between organized crime and professional sport, suggests something else might be at play.

Ever since Romans found out that the best way to entertain masses is to offer them organized games, we have been mesmerized by those of us who are capable of achieving outstanding results in sports. It is not difficult to see why that is; in the world where razor-sharp inequalities divide us, sport is the ultimate leveler.  Bare-footed African kid with equal measures of talent, passion and perseverance can and will outrun his counterparts from far richer parts of the globe.

When outstanding achievements are accomplish against impossible odds, as Oscar Pistorius did,  god-like status is bestowed on such achievers; they are loved, admired and worshiped accordingly. Their riches and fame compare only with those who are public darlings as queens and kings of show-business. And, as we all know – there is no business, like a show-business!

But the top sports people are not show-business stars. To achieve those outstanding results that made them into celebrities, they dedicated their lives to daily, grueling training’s, not to mention specialized diets and many other scientifically developed and carefully balanced measures they must scrupulously follow every day. And all that in order to remain on top of their games and compete in fiercely competitive fields where milliseconds can make or break careers and where stakes are ever higher.

And while all that sounds punishing enough, it is only a part, and it seems not even the biggest part, of their story. Because it is no longer sufficient to achieve on the sporting grounds. Those achievements are almost assumed and once   accomplished, living up to the status public bestowed upon them is required; enter world media, paparazzi, social-media, spin-doctors and alike.

Is it just me being a little bit soft or motherly sentimental in my dotage, or is it really that hard to imagine the enormous pressure that they must be under ever hour of every day? How long until even the strongest ‘snap’ and start looking for any kind of relief? Organized drug peddlers enter here. Others let their steam off in fast cars, arms of ever-present beautiful women, drunken parties, deadly weapons … there is hardly an end to the offerings.

And all so that the show continuous to go on .

On the second page of the same paper that brought the story of Oscar Pistorius, there was a story of a 15 years old golfing star; Korean born, NZ citizen Lydia Ko. Along side a long list of her many achievements in golf, made all the more special by her tender young age, the reporter wrote how Lydia does not go out with friends, or has time for anything else but golf; ‘golf is her life’. The last line in the article reads: ‘No pressure, Lydia but we look forward to following your progress with pride.’ 

I do not know first thing about golf. But I do wish Lydia all the best. Especially a set of caring parents.

Gladiator

Author: Daniela

Reader, Writer, Mother, Freethinker, Habitual Day Dreamer, Blogger - Sharing Ideas, Poetry, Prose, and Conversations on the Lantern Post!

27 thoughts on “Sporting Celebrities”

    1. Hi -:),

      Precisely. Since the professional sport has become yet another money-making commercial venture, all the usual vultures have come to feast on it … and of course with that huge pressures are generated.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

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    1. Hi there my friend -:),

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. And yes, the pressures of not only achieving the top, but retaining it, as well as living up to the image projected, eventually becomes too much.

      Be Well,
      Daniela

      Like

  1. Good article, very good… One of my sporting heroes, also from South Africa was Hansie Cronje; I didn’t know him personally but I can still remember the impact it had on me when he was unmasked as a cheat and a liar.As you say, the pressures are enormous on these men and women, and after all, they are only flesh and blood like us. Great post, thank you!

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  2. i did a post on Oscar last summer as I am so blessedly proud of his tenacity and determination. Such a good role model he is (was?) I never in a million years would have thought such a tragedy would have occurred. he’s a well balanced, soulful, spiritual man. It’s clear, as he admitted, he shot through that bathroom door. Did he do it on purpose, I find it highly unlikely but will have to wait for the court case to play out..
    the money, pressure, etc of being an “athletic star’ can prove too much for even a man such as Oscar. My prayers for him, her family & his family at this time of their lives.

    yes, the media dogs are already in place, ready to add more pressure.. awful

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    1. What you wrote resonates strongly with me … it really is a horrible tragedy in every way. I wish I could have your faith in the courts system … but after years of seeing them in action, I cannot say I do. And of course, as you said, the media dogs are pouncing already, it is just another day in the office for them.

      The pressures of stardom fulled by media machines is terrible.

      Many thanks for reading and commenting,
      Daniela

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  3. Nicely written, Daniela!

    On the opposite side of the adulation coin are the boys who are bullied, their pain ignored. Until the day they snap, and burst into school with weapons designed for overkill.

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  4. When I was a young girl I thought what I had to say was important. So I said, “Football is man’s way of making war in peace.” I still see all spectator sports in that light so I am not surprised at the excesses in the sporting world, where even the spectators behave as though they were at war. This is a fascinating post Daniela and I do see your point about winners becoming victims of their own fame. but your reference to the Gladiators is perfect! There are still the masses who love cheering for all the blood and gore and there are still the masses who stay home and want to live in peace. Those who participate, either in the stands or in the arena are there by choice.

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  5. My husband adored Lance Armstrong. Held him up as an example to our boys and used him as an inspiration for fitness. He was glued to the TV for years during the bike races. He was crushed when Armstrong admitted his doping. And he felt like a fool for holding him up as an example for so long. What a mess sports has become.

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    1. Many husbands and fathers around the world did the same with clear hearts and best intentions. Although Lance turned out not to be worthy example, intentions those fathers had when they held him as an example to their children remain well worth.

      Yes, sports have become mess that feeds media machines just like show business.

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

      Daniela

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  6. You are so eloquent. I felt the same way – that in spite of all the words and pictures on the news, I, personally knew nothing. We are not examining the evidence and hearing the trial. We don’t even get the news second-hand. The story is tragic. Drug enhanced performance is tragic. I read yesterday in our local paper that they are worried that drugs urinated out of the body going into the sewage treatment plants are not processed and eliminated there, flow to the oceans and are making fish more agressive, and at risk. Things have ramifications where we can never imagine they will. Thanks for sharing, Daniela.

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    1. Thank you very, very much for such thoughtful comment -:)!

      All we humans do on and to this planet does have some form of ramifications, whether we are aware of it or not … or choose to ignore it. As it does everything we do to each others.

      Many thanks,
      Daniela

      Like

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