Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stop showing Athletes as Superheroes

Vidit Bhargava
Over the last few days the social media is ripe with all sorts of posters depicting the Indian athletes competing in olympics as super-heroes. Draped in Wonder Woman and Superman costumes the posts presumably follow the general trend of telling the crowd how amazing these athletes are.

To me, this is just an hyperbolic reaction. We see very little of these athletes to acknowledge their strength and so every two years we feel the need to tell the crowd at large about the mistake they are doing by ignoring these sportspersons and so this year, taking an hyperbolic turn the social media has decided that the 2016 Olympics for India are about Woman Power, Athletes being larger than life superheroes, and in general some sort of legends, instead of athletes showing a lot of promise and doing well in a lot of fields (an ideal pitch for more investment in fields like gymnastics and rowing, as they've shown potential for great performance)

This is wrong whichever way you look at it. First, we are not doing anything to acknowledge the fact their sports need more respect in the country. By displaying them as Wonder Woman or Superman, we're sending out a message that their profession lacks appeal.  We are also setting sky-high expectations from many athletes who are still learning to compete at a global stage.

Personally, I feel that I'd like to know Srikant Kidambi, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar or Dattu Bhokanal as Badminton Players, Gynmasts or Rowers. I'd like to know them for their profession, and the fact that their sport is just as important as something like Cricket. Every time I look at them in a hero personification, I fear we'll loose the plot. The plot of investing heavily in training them and turning the half-chances from this year's olympics, into gold medals for the next time.

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