Letters

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Olympic athletes’ luster fades with every tweet

Re “Sanya Richards-Ross objects to marketing policy” (Sports, July 31): What happened to the sanctified Olympic spirit, that noble yearning for purity? Isn’t it supposed to be about the competition, uncorrupted by concerns of fame and money?

Some athletes claim Olympic reality is changing. But is it the Olympics that is changing, or is it the ambitions of the athletes? Technology has given them a voice, which has predominantly proved disenchanting. The gleaming luster of heroes’ images is subsiding tweet by tweet. With every petty comment, temper tantrum, and demand for money opportunities, they betray how average they are.

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What a deflating revelation this is to the many adulators who are full of visions of the great, untouchable ideal, born of the errant misperception that physical ability is tantamount to that substance, character, and wisdom that stands high above the lilliputian trivialities of our comparatively common lives. How harsh it is to have a bucket full of water poured on your face while you were having such a pleasant dream.

We are all the same, and the percentage of commendable exceptions is as rare among Olympic athletes as among the common population.

Michael E. White

Oxford

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