Racing Through Hurdles

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.)

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).

Opendorse (n.d.)


Photo of Lola Jones





Sports and Drugs: Historical Timeline History of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports “Founding Fathers on Religion in Government.” 22 Feb. 2008




5 thoughts on “Racing Through Hurdles

  1. Very interesting read! It’s kind of funny that in our culture an athletes relative level of success (if you measure success in fame and money) can be affected just as much by their physical appearance or charisma as their athletic ability. I think an example of this is Ryan Lochte, by all accounts he is a great swimmer but he managed to use his objective ‘hotness’ to land a reality TV show and a guest spot on 30 Rock.

  2. I agree with bencassera, this was very interesting to read. For me its with football. I like to think that when a player gets injured, they aren’t injected with tons of pain killers just so they can play. But in the end, they suffer for it. For athletes that use performance drugs, the endorsements get taken away. For football players, its a lifetime of health problems.

  3. Hey Maadumlao,
    I agree with the others, this was an interesting read. I’m happy someone in our pop-culture class did an essay on athletics, espcially track. Being a track athlete myself, I was able to relate to alot of what you were talking about. I found it interesting that the using of performance enhancing drugs started in ancient Greek.I feel like the sport of track and field has a bad rep in the media because of all the scanadal of doping that has gone on over the years. It’s frustrating though because there are pleanty of other major sports, like baseball and football, where there have been doping scandals but the media seems to just brush it off. In my eyes, I feel like all sports should have the same regulations as track when it comes to doping, you get suspended or are banned for the rest of your life. It’s interesting because in college, the NCAA has strict rules on doping for all sports. I noticed though that the sports that do bend the rules on doping tend to be team oriented sports, like baseball and football.

  4. First of all I had no idea that ancient Greeks started using the performance enhancing drugs, that is interesting. Like you mentioned famous athletes are famous because they are good at a sport like beyond good and practice a lot. People tell their kids just to practice and you will be just as good but yet most of these famous athletes use performance enhancing drugs. Are they really that good or is it just the drugs? Media makes athletic sports look so easy but it is actually hard and a lot of pressure to be good so I understand the need for drugs but that should not be the way to go.

  5. Hi Maadumlao!

    Your article was incredibly interesting. I like that you talked about athletes and them being apart of a brand. I have noticed that when a brand picks up and athlete you often don’t know anyone else on their team. It isn’t about the sports themselves anymore, it is really just about the athlete. Great job on this essay, you kept me interested the whole time. I also enjoyed that you used a specific athlete as an example.

    Well Done!!

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