By Kelly Sotherton
The power of an Olympics is unquestioned. An unrivalled spotlight falls on athletes during the Olympics. How does this change your life as a competitor and do athletes realise the power that comes with this? Could they use the spotlight more effectively?
This summer has undoubtedly been one of the toughest an Olympic athlete can face. With everyone talking about how amazing London 2012 was, Rio 2016 didn’t have the fantastic build-up it deserved.
How does an Olympics change an athlete’s life? Firstly, becoming an Olympian is something that stays with you forever – that in itself changes your life. Of course the ultimate is to perform out of your skin and gain one of the prestigious medals on offer. This can deﬁne your whole career at whatever stage it is at.
After you come home it’s very anti-climactic but what an Olympian doesn’t realise, especially one with a medal, is that the platform you now stand upon is high. The athlete has more power than they realise – but no one is going to tell you this, of course.
Nowadays you can see an athlete’s power through social media – how many followers and interactions are a key indicator. The more successful you are, the bigger and higher the platform. Athletes need to use this to their advantage, not only for themselves in a commercial way but to voice their thoughts – potentially across a range of important issues – in a constructive way that can help to bring about positive change.
Being an Olympian is a powerful way of being heard. So it is vital that athletes learn the art of voicing their thoughts in a constructive way. Sports people are generally role models for many and being inﬂuential comes with the territory. Can we use this to our advantage to shape our sports for the better? Deﬁnitely. We should be using this the most effective way we can, to be positive, leading forces for everyone to follow in our footsteps.
It is time for us to come together to use our collective influence to bring about the changes our sports need. Let’s not wait for another four year cycle. The time is now.