Michael Phelps has surpassed Mark Spitz’s record for winning the most medals in a single Olympics. That’s old news.
What is interesting is a comment Mark Spitz made when asked about how he now feels. His response, “What I’m thinking now is, he’s got the burden of inspiring the youth as they go forward. That’s a relief.”
I don’t get it. Inspiring young people is a burden?
Maybe Spitz’s comment was taken out of context or incomplete as quoted. I hope so. He seems like a good egg, so I’m puzzled about why he’d think he had to inspire anyone and secondarily why he considered that a burden.
None of us, no matter how successful, are forced by law to be a positive role model to others. That isn’t an obligation unless the successful person chooses to make it so.
And influencing anyone positively should been seen as an opportunity. The greater the visibility and success the great the potential positive impact. That is the opportunity of leadership.
I understand the successful people who become celebrities are subjected to scrutiny that regular folks are not. That seems to me to be a price to be weighed against the attainment of celebrity. Some celebrities have deemed the price too high and chosen to drop out of the public spotlight.
Others have not only kept the spotlight but benefited greatly from it. It is disingenuous to enjoy the benefits and complain about the costs.
We often hear celebrities whining about their burdensome responsibility as role models. They have several options as I see it, and whining is the least gracious.