3 Comments

  1. Jeff Walton
    February 6, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

    Phelps’ decision to engage in underage driving under the influence soon after the Athens games was also a disappointment. Most of us probably acknowledge that we overly celebrate our top athletes in this society and attempt to make them into something they are not. Wasn’t it Charles Barkley who said “I’m not your kid’s role model”? Here’s an article from Newsweek that was written after he made that famous comment: http://www.newsweek.com/id/121115

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  2. Josh Chambers
    February 9, 2009 @ 7:41 am

    Good post David. Maybe this is wrong; but who cares that Phelps was smoking pot? Whether you agree or disagree with weed is irrelevant…he’s a 23 year old guy who makes mistakes. I’m not sure why it’s even my right to know he smoked pot? I think it’s lame how blown out of proportion it is.

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  3. davidmartinhanke
    February 9, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    Josh, I think you get to the heart of the question. Is it fair to ask someone who happens to swim fast to also have character in proportion to his physical gifting? it is allegedly ‘blown out of proportion’ because he is the greatest Olympian ever. If he wasn’t, people wouldn’t care. So my questions: how do we prepare people for success? Those who are public leaders (including athletes, politicians, entertainers) are critiqued more stridently. In many ways, they are revered so highly because we all want to live vicariously through them. We want our kids to be successful like them. And so when they fall short, that vicarious drug– which feels great to the public leader if they are doing well– becomes a vicious venom: we’re angry that you let us down because we wanted to believe you were someone you are not. Because we want to believe we are someone we are not.

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