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Fame is like a poison, says American skiing ace Miller
American skiing ace Bode Miller says he can understand while some athletes turn to drugs in their quest for fame.
Miller, who on Tuesday was disqualified from the Winter Olympics' alpine skiing combined event after a slalom slip-up, believes the pressure to succeed forces some competitors to cheat.
"Sport was born clean and would remain so if it was about just competing for the fun of it, but the media and the public corrupt it because of the pressure they create," the outspoken Miller told the Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Any athlete who isn't doing well is left in the corner, nobody asks for their autograph and they're left out in the cold. However, those who win things are regarded as symbols.
Jim: You're right on about Little League. When I was involved years ago, I had parents curse me, spit at me and once when another umpire & I called a game because it was thundering & lightening, a mother on a team that was coming from behind and would lose if the game was called, came onto the field and bit the other unmpire so bad, we had to take him to the hospital. Once when a pitcher beamed a batter unintentionally and started crying out of fear that he had hurt the batter, parents on the batter's side of the stands started tormenting the pitcher with cat calls, calling the little fellow a "murderer" in order to get him so upset that he had to leave the game. After warning the coach to get his team's fans under control to no avail, I forfeited the game against the unruly crowd's team. I almost needed a police escort to get to my car. I don't know what has happended to folks these days, but athletics don't necessarily teach good things to kids anymore.
You have made excellent comments, Tony. However, there are pressures in athletics that are not monetary, such as in the little league, which is known for pushy parents. In sports such as the Olympics it's getting to be more about money all the time. Letting a professional athlete compete perhaps is a good thing, they get less financial benefit from winning in the Olympics, win or lose.
It's more than fame and pride. It's also about money. Look at all the Olympic gold medalists (and even lesser winners) who have gone on to adorn cereal boxes, sell sneakers, makeup, toothpaste, appear on stupid game shows. Even Bruce Jenner still shows up and no amount of Oil of Olay can hide the wrinkles in his face, but he is still marketable. As long as people crave human idols, Olympic sports will be a potential moneymaker. Look at how even professional athletes are allowed to compete. Why? Because even the "noble" Olympic Committee sees the potential for ratings money and commercial advertising revenue. Even college sports in the USA are really nothing but semi-pro training grounds. Well over half the bluttos who play never graduate. Mr. Miller's evaluation is accurate. If he reads a Bible, he'll understand more about idolatry, love of money, etc. This may be God's way of bringing him to salvation.