Tuesday, February 25, 2014

HEROES ? Or are they Role Models ?

Media Hype is at an all time HIGH , as Athletes who competed at Sochi 2014 Olympics , return to their Home Countries . Some will display evidence of their successes , others will regale their families and friends with their experiences at the Olympic Events . Almost ALL will deserve aclaim , for a JOB well done . As was to be expected , WADA had their successes also , since the latest reports that i have seen , reveal the detection of at least 5 Athletes that failed to fool the Testing Protocols ?

Each Athlete that competed will have dedicated a large proportion of the previous 4 years to reach the required standard to participate . Some will have been to multiple Olympic Games , even fewer will have achieved a Better Medal than at their previous attempts and then there are those who did not reach the podium in either Winter or Summer Games , but were content with " It is not whether YOU Win or Lose , it is how you play the GAME ", as the mark of their participation .

To ALL ATHLETES , THANKYOU ! You provided 16 days of your best efforts and immense displays of Sportsmanship ! As to those " short cut B...s ", 4 years out of competition , is not enough ! Being chosen to represent your Country , then thinking you would suffer no detection , when you CHOSE to disgrace your colleagues and thus Disgrace your Country , deserves a LIFE TIME BAN ! No excuses will be acceptable when the tests are proven ! Dodgy Low life Lawyers will attempt to profit from your attempts to evade your responsibilities , but in the end we will be rid of YOU !

Certainly there can be the odd case , where a miscarriage of Justice will occur , but hopefully every Athlete is NOW taking their responsibilities seriously , in respect of ANYTHING they choose to use ? Alain Baxter , the Scottish Skier , that medalled in the Salt Lake 2002 Olympics , must rue the fact that he failed to check the WADA /USADA website before buying replacement medication in the USA . Forgetting his UK Prescribed medication , he rushed out to buy the " Same Name Product " in Salt Lake and thus suffered years of Heartache whilst he fought to prove " Mischance rather than deliberation " , losing the Medal , even though the placing was eventually restored . Had he thought to consult the USADA / WADA schedule , he would have noted that the US produced medication contained " prohibited substances "!  Will others make this mistake and seek the indulgence granted ? One hopes that this Lesson is now part of WADA Folklore and the Future Olympians will not seek to use this excuse ?

Each and every Athlete that aspires to be an Olympian , adopts a rigorous Training Regime . Just as YOU and I , set out to do the JOB for which we receive recompence . In doing these Jobs , some of us will achieve " Excellence "and thus , will be deemed " Role models " by our colleagues ? This is the same for Athletes in any Sport . They will reach the podium and others will aspire to achieve the same or better results and thus also be regarded as " Role Models " . This is what Sport is all about , Excelling in the face of Competition .  Such a shame that the Media confuse " Role Model " replacing it with " Sporting Hero " ?

In March , we will see the start of the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi .
Amongst the Athletes from all over the World , will be Athletes with a variety of Disabilities . During recent years , the number of Classes/Gradings of Disability have been reduced , thus there were less " Classes of Disability " at Vancouver 2010 , than at Salt Lake 2002 . The combining of several degrees of disability may have seen many outstanding Athletes retire from International Competition . It may also have reduced the numbers of competitors eligible to participate in the Para Games ?

Amongst those now competing will be Athletes that were born with Disability , those that found their original Life Style disrupted through Road Traffic Trauma or Industrial Incident , AND , those that served their Nation in " Harms Way " and now seek to serve once again on the Sports Field . Whether losing Limbs in Harms Way or by Civilian Incident , these Athletes deserve especial recognition for their rising to the challenge that Life has thrust upon them .

It would be harsh to deprive Alex Zenardi of the " Hero Acolades " heaped on him after his successes in
Handbiking at the London 2012 Paralympic Games . So also would it be , in respect of PierAngelo Vignati for his Successes in Sydney 2000 Para Games and Athens 2004 . Even Armin Zoegler , the Luge Olympic Medal Winner at each of his 6 Olympic Appearances , would refrain from accepting the " HERO " designation , when his Sporting Career is compared to Other Italian Paralympic Athletes , who served ITALY in " Harms Way ", then took up the challenge to serve their Country once again on the Sporting Field .

The examples used to illustrate my point are ALL from Italy and i use them , since i have met them ALL , at various Cycling and Winter Events . I have also met Aussie Para Athletes and i feel sure that the likes of Mike Milton , a Very Successful Para Athlete in the Winter Games and who now competes in the Summer Games as a Cyclist , would point to an Aussie Para Athlete who served in Harms Way , as a " TRUE Blue Hero " .  The USA will have many more candidates that will qualify for the Para Games after being rehabilitated from the various Mid East Conflicts that their Country has been engaged .

One thing you can count on though , the Media will be verbose whilst at the games , but a month or so later , try and see whether they recall more than the Medal Winners from the Para Games ? It would be interesting to look at their work and see to what extent they have associated with Olympic and Paralympic Athletes during the progress to these Games ?

" HERO " , is a description so often trotted out to describe " Role Models " , thus tends to devalue the efforts of those Exceptional People that TRULY deserve the Acolade ? Each Country' Armed Forces have a series of " Ribbons/Medals "that designate Theatre of Service or Feats of Courage . For me it is confusing to see Police wearing a Ribbon that was earned by service with the United Nations in a number of Actions ,
then see a Trooper with a chestful of Ribbons that were earned through Injury or Exemplary Bravery , mixed in with " Theatre Operations " Ribbons . Regretably the Highest UK Award , the Victoria Cross , tends to be awarded to a " Postumous Recipient " , as does the US " Medal of Honor " . Yet i feel sure each of these People whilst deserving the " HERO " designation , would tend to point to others that they would consider as " Heroes "?

No doubt the Media will continue to award " Hero Status " to Austrian Skiers and Aussie Footie Players , even though they are well paid for their work and efforts to be " Role Models "?

No one will take the time to tell me their thoughts on the subject , although i would be happy to hear from them !

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