August 13, 2012

hurrah, the olympics has given us a new set of role models

It’s all I’ve been reading lately. I am rejoicing.  I agree with every single article I’ve read. In particular, The Independent’s “The Olympic Role models are exactly what we’ve been looking for, and the Guardian’s “Bye Bye Kardashians: Olympics give women new, strong role models”. These articles are full with numerous references to the fact that hard work and graft is the key to success instead of a low BMI and daddy’s money. I chuckled at puns such as ‘The Only Way is Ennis,” a dig at the fact that the TOWIE satsuma’s need to move over. 

I for one was starting to breathe sighs of desperation at the women we had to read about and apparently aspire to be. People from reality TV programmes, or heiresses who shall not be named, with their only claim to fame in life being their surname. If you were born pretty and skinny and rich, then I don’t blame you for that. But if you signed a deal with Channel 4 fresh out of the womb with no backbone to ask for a pay cheque or dignity because you are sorted for life – well, where’s the inspiration in that? Work for something, surely – there is a lot to care about in the world, and a lot to fix.

It’s refreshing to see the rawness of working hard to achieve something. The Olympic athletes are incredibly open about how hard they’ve worked. These athletes have trained for years, been up at times in the morning I did not know existed, ached beyond belief, fought with injury, the list goes on. We have seen the slip ups, failures, tears and moments of disappointment along the way and in some cases we’ve have seen them grow and improve right before our eyes from the last Olympic Games. We’ve seen athletes really ramp up their training and grab their dreams with both hands. 

Not many people in the media will show how hard they’ve worked. It’s not cool to admit you’ve worked hard. We don’t hear many people sit down and tell people the painful ins and outs of what they did to achieve their success. It’s private. It’s a struggle until you make it and then why would you want to talk about the struggle? Young people then think it’s more related to looks and knowing the right people than anything else. Hard work seems to be the long way round. We don’t see the ‘behind the scenes’ of glamorous successful people that often.

But with Team GB this year, we lived and breathed it with them. We have some understanding now of their pain and we are so happy for them and grateful that they shared it with us, we’re like proud parents, beaming with pride. With these athletes, we can look at them as a source of inspiration and even if our own goals are not even slightly sport-related, there is a real sense of ‘actually, YES, I can do it’. 

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