Athlete. That word pops into your head. You think, Michael Phelps, with his amazing 16 Olympic medals, including an 8 for 8 gold medal perfomance at the Beijing 2008 Olympics; Michael Jordan, basketball player-extraordinaire; Usain Bolt, world record holder for the 100 m. and 200 m sprints; and Nadia Comaneci, the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10.
These people were/are all very successful in their sports, gaining a lot of media attention. But alas, the sports industry cannot be portrayed as something as perfect as it seems. Most athletes, although very hard-working, will not achieve the greatness as those four athletes have. They will not live in mansions and eat filet mignon everyday. They live in a world of pressure. Pressure to do better. Pressure to keep their job. Pressure to not fail.
And with that pressure comes doubt, which could ultimately cost the athlete their job. The life of an athlete is tough. Training, training, and more training.
I recently read a article in Time magazine concerning athletes from China. Some are taken from their homes at a young age and sent to special training schools. One athlete has not seen his parents for 3 years.
The harsh reality is, the sports industry is not as great as it appears to be. But, I know that they're making changes, and one day I hope that all athletes will be treated with the respect, and the pay, that they deserve.