Saturday, February 7, 2009

Its about time.

They say, "Be it an apple or be it fame, whatever goes up has to come down". Newton proved the adage for an apple. A number of celebrities/sports stars have proved the same for fame/success.

Michael Phelps is the latest to join the bandwagon.

Two awe-inspiring pictures that remained etched in my memory after the last olympics :

Usain Bolt thumping his chest before making it to the finish line:

Bolt's confidence was extremely inspiring. Whenever I used to see the footage of him in that 100m sprint I used to think, "What if he had lost th
at race due to his antics?" Well thats confidence for you. He was confident he wouldn't lose. As a very dear friend of mine would say, "You can't buy confidence from the market. Its inside you. You have got to light that fire within."

Michael Phelps after his 8th Gold:

Phelps on the other hand, filled my mind with wonderment. I am running on 23 and I am ashamed to say that I have achieved nothing that may be even remotely comparable to what he has achieved.

Michael Phelps : Inhaling through a glass pipe

However, his latest actions have let me down. Phelps was photographed smoking/pretending to smoke cannabis
through a glass pipe.

It has reinforced my belief in the fact that humans are prone to mistakes. Phelps was touted as God then. Well he turned out to be human after all. Contrary to readers' perceptions, I am not taking pleasure in penning this article. It pains me to see a blooming career wither so. It bothers me to see a 'barely-23' year old young turk having to answer and justify his actions to the entire world; actions, which are practised possibly by majority of his countrymen at a lower age. Phelps has been suspended for a couple of years. Kellog and Co has tried to protect its brand image by booting Phelps from its contracted rolls. Speedo and Omega are still persisting with Phelps as their brand ambassador but one cannot say for how long they shall continue to do so. In times of recession, reduction in consumption plainly due to a spoilt brand image is the last thing any firm would desire.

An analogy that strikes me here
Gravity : Apple
World's prying eyes : Celebrities

The apple just had weight; It did not have wings. So it had to come down when acted upon by gravity. Phelps had the success and the ensuing popularity. As evident, he did not have the sensibilties to shoulder the responsibilities entrusted upon him. The microscopic eyes of the media highlighted his condemnable actions and brought him down in no time. Even a privately committed mistake, as in case of Phelps made front page news in very quick time.

A major issue with Phelps more than any other errant celebrity is that he is a role model for kids.; the primary reason being that swimming lessons are started from the salad days in a person's life. Phelps should have realized this and checked his actions.

The milk has been spilt and there is no use crying over it now. The incident might raise questions on Phelps' maturity but it surely cant make people point fingers at his achievements.

It is surely a very hard lesson for the swimmer. My full sympathies with him. Hope this enables him to come out stronger.

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