In my last posts, I spoke a lot about the notion of the Ultimate Athlete, explaining my views and position on the matter: Undoubtedly, as an athlete, I am passionate about the subject but there is much more at stake with Search For the Ultimate Athlete (SFUA) than just finding “the one”, the athlete that can truly do it all and do it all exceptionally well. Being an awesome athlete requires more than physical prowess while performing. It requires discipline to train, mental toughness and alertness to compete and commitment to succeed in one or in many sports. Doing it all exceptionally well also extend beyond the moment on the playing field.
Unfortunately, when it comes to sports, we live in a culture focusing to much on scores, stats,winners
losers and also on all the scandals surrounding sports and athletes. Disgrace is found at the professional level, in team sports, at the Olympics, on the golf course and even in college sports. Yesterday, Lance Armstrong “officially” came clean on cheating while competing…A story pertaining to a locker brawl following the loss of the USC Trojans in the Sun Bowl was on Yahoo News and I won’t get into the headline on CBSSports.com titled “Steroid scandal could destroy what UFC has built”. What a shame!
Being among the best comes with a responsibility to the sport, the athletes and the millions of fans looking up to those individuals. Being a role model off the field is directly associated with how an athlete will behave while competing. If you are a trouble maker or a cheater off the field, it is highly probable you will do anything possible, legal or illegal, to win and at any cost. Lets not forget the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, and their “pay for performance” to hurt players. Nicole Cook, 2008 Beijing Games road race gold medalist, said it best when speaking about the impact on athletes choosing to play fair and by the rule: “Those genuine people walked away with no reward, just shattered dreams”. She was speaking for all the athletes who decided to honor their sport and maintain integrity as athletes and as people. It is all part of being an Ultimate Athlete, or at least it will be for the SFUA Ultimate Athlete.
I am not implying all high profile athletes, mostly in professional sports, are driven strictly by the desire to win at any costs, because many of them “play the game” primarily because of their love for their sport. Some have been exemplary on the field and off the field, by engaging in many worthy causes, but we need to raise the bar and reach a new level when it comes to sports role models in general. Raising the bar for Search For the Ultimate Athlete will not only apply to the athletes’ social responsibility, but it will also apply to the level competitors they are being tested at. Stay tuned!