The statuesque young lady stood confidently at the beginning of the runway. The celebrated model fixed her gaze intensely upon
the distance. Her lane was bounded by parallel lines 100 meters
long. Yes she was perceived as a model: a paragon of athleticism and grace. A beautiful smile on a photogenic face.
She was the golden girl of the 2000 Olympic Summer games. She
was adored by the camera. Her media interviews were not only photogenic but were articulate as well. The advertisers must
have been lined up outside of her agentsí door with hundreds
of thousands of dollars in endorsement deals!
At the sound of the startersí gun she quickly began to run,
rapidly accelerating to a high level of speed. With her arms
pumping rhythmically at her sides, energizing her graceful
strides, she authoritatively assumed the lead. And after being
first to cross the finish line, she accepted congratulatory hugs. But how many of those that she left behind were also on drugs?
Perhaps the recent unfortunate turn of events in Marion Jonesí life can motivate some scholarly study on the following subject.
What does the public want more: a dominant, heroic and
charismatic winner or a fair competition? Keep in mind that
fair competitions can sometimes be boring and generate only
mediocre TV ratings. It may very well be true, at least some
of the time, that fairness in competition and a dynamic heroic
winner are mutually exclusive.
For example, Notre Dame is presently 0 for 4 or 5 in college
football. Will this fact create undue pressure for the lowering
of their academic standards or for some other forms of cheating?
Why would cheating be a possible consequence of an 0 for 4 record? Because a woeful losing record may result in a decrease in TV ratings and a reduction in the associated ad revenues.
The reports of the downfall of Marion Jones brings to mind other recent (and fairly recent) stories in the sports world and also in the business such as those of Enron, the Global Crossing scandal, Bill Belichick, Barry Bonds, Floyd Landis and NBA refereeing. Perhaps then, athletes, sports fans, businessmen, advertisers, and the media should stop and ponder the essence of the following:
Take performance enhancing drugs
and earn potential fortune and fame.
But compete fair and square
and be just another unknown name.
Perhaps sports fans are also partly to blame
for acting as if the winner
was the only contestant to enter
and to compete in the game . ††