Racing through Hurdles
What defines an athlete? Is it someone who takes part in an organized sport? Someone who dedicates there time to do something they love doing. It can also be someone partaking in physical activity. An athlete can be even someone who is abusing the system of the sport by using performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes have come a long way in history. “The ancient Olympic Games began in the year 776 BC, when Koroibos, a cook from the nearby city of Elis, won the stadium race, a foot race 600 feet long” It was said that, “this was the only athletic event of the games for the first 13 Olympic festivals” Track and Field History and the Origins of the Sport (n.d.). This is why I chose the topic of Track and Field, because the first events of history began on a simple footrace. I chose to do hurdling because I myself use to do hurdling all throughout middle school and high school.
Using an Athlete as an opportunistic way to take advantage of giving them endorsements to create revenue for their company.
“Sports were well-suited culturally and ideologically to the emerging capitalistic structure of 19th century America”(Mchesney). Popular culture really defines athletes who are good at the sport as someone famous. Athletes get famous from the media, tabloids, and news. They are models for huge companies that pay them to sport the brand logo. The reason why athletes are models for brand companies is to create revenue for the brand. It makes people buy the brand logo of what the athletes are wearing. Popular culture idolizes professional athletes of their hard work and dedication. An example athlete that I care to give an example about is Lolo Jones who is an Olympic champion 100-meter hurdler. Lolo Jones is widely known as a hurdler in Track and Field and has won indoor track and Field and nationals 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012. In an article I was reading the author said that Lolo Jones “has the athletic resume, telegenic persona and overall life story needed to help her access a plethora of business opportunities on and off of the track” (Starr). Huge companies such as Red Bull and McDonalds endorse her. Endorsements help spread advertisements for their company. “The best endorsement deals work to match a corporate brand image with an athlete’s image in order to target consumers with similar values and increase brand awareness” (Opendorse n.d). This is how Popular Culture defines an athlete, not just for their ability in a sport but for their ability of how well they can sell a product.
Defining an athlete in Popular Culture: Cheating the system by taking performance-enhancing drugs.
People idolize athletes in a way that they are pressured to stay on the top and always perform well. Once athletes get into performance enhancing drugs they are stripped away from their opportunities like the company that endorses them. Performance enhancing drugs is a drug, which is normally a steroid to enhance an athlete’s performance in the sporting event. The first people to actually abuse performance-enhancing drugs were actually the ancient greeks. Back then this wasn’t cheating but simply giving them a push to do better in the competition. The drug they use back then was actually a doping drug. Throughout history there were many who used different types of drugs to get an athlete through a competition. A link of the history through which athletes performed and almost fatally died from using mixes of drugs. “The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the governing body for the sport of track and field, become the first international sporting federation to prohibit doping by athletes” (Sports and Drugs n.d)
Now that I think of when a good athlete comes along in track and field I think if they are on performance enhancing drugs. Although I haven’t heard in awhile from the media, tabloids, or news if an athlete is abusing a drug to perform well. Thanks to previous outbreaks of athletes confessing that they were using drugs during a competition it sort of highlights if more athletes are performing really well because they are also doing the same thing. It’s upsetting to think because you think of that athlete you thought won because they were just good and practiced enough. But in the end they cheated and it makes cheating look easy.
Sources In Order:
Track and Field History and the Origins of the Sport (n.d.) http://www.athleticscholarships.net/history-of-track-and-field.htm
McChesney, Robert W. “Media made sport: A history of sports coverage in the United States.” Media, sports, and society (1989): 49-69.
Starr, Terrell Jermaine. “Lolo Has Golden Future Despite Leaving London” News One For Black America (2014).
Photo of Lola Jones
Sports and Drugs: Historical Timeline History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
ProCon.org. “Founding Fathers on Religion in Government.” ProCon.org. 22 Feb. 2008