Magazine topic: 

Sportsmen as role models

by : 
James Coop

Do international sportsmen have a duty to be good role models?

A character in one of Shakespeare’s plays once said, “some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Any of these could apply to the modern day sportsman. Many still argue about the nature of talent. Some claim that people are born to be sportsmen, while others say it is only through dedication and hard work that they achieve their abilities. Arguably though, it is not until their talents are acknowledged by the public that they truly have greatness thrust upon them.

With this acknowledgement of their “greatness” comes all the trappings of modern day celebrity: money, power, influence and seemingly unbeknown to many, responsibility. For better or for worse, like it or loathe it, modern sportsmen are the role models of children everywhere. These children will grow up admiring their heroes, devoting their lives to copying their every move, watching them, reading about them and wanting above all to be like them. Due to this fascination, particularly with the massive influence of the media in today’s society, it is more important than ever for these sportsmen to acknowledge the responsibility that has been thrust upon them.

In the past few months alone, there have been many instances of questionable behaviour from icons of the sporting world. From claims of racism on the football pitch, to wild stories from the rugby world cup, to betting scandals within the ‘whiter than white’ sport of cricket, sport stars of the present day are often mirroring the very worst aspects of society, a fact that the self righteous fury of the modern press has been quick to point out. It would be wrong for us to expect sportsmen to be saints. It would also be wrong for us to think that their behaviour is markedly different from the sportsmen they grew up watching, but with the all seeing eye of modern media it is a different world, and different standards must be expected.

Of course there is no obligation to sportsmen to be good role models. There are no prison sentences, no fines, no community service – unless of course their misdemeanours are illegal, as the Pakistani cricketers who fixed their games have found. Unless they break the law, it is entirely up to them as to whether or not they think their behaviour is appropriate. Furthermore, measuring the true impact their decisions have on their disciples is absolutely impossible. Some will rise against their idols, seeing them in a new light and condemning their actions. Others may think it is acceptable to live a life without consequence, copying their heroes’ actions, and using them as a shield when accused of the same crimes they have witnessed these demigods commit.

It is undeniable that the actions of sportsmen will influence the lives of those who worship them. Modern day sportsmen are the prophets or gods of today's secular world, and their actions are scrutinised by millions the world over, with a zeal more commonly seen in religious cults. Some may rail against it, denying their impact on these childrens' lives. Others may be aware of it but not respect it, while many may both be aware of it and respect it. Ultimately you do not choose whether you are a role model. All you can do is decide how to act when greatness is thrust upon you.

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Which sportsmen and sportswomen are role models for you?

Do you think sportsmen and sportswomen make good role models for young people?


oiertxu's picture
oiertxu 26 January, 2021 - 16:02

My role model is Asier Villalibre. Asier Villalibre is an Athletic Bilbao football player, he is 23 and lives in Gernika.
Asier is a great player now but he has dedicated all his life to hard work and his dream. On the one hand he is serious, energetic and disciplined. On the other hand he is fun, positive and friendly.
Asier is different because he has a social conscience, and he is a good team member, he is not a superstar. He is a good role module because he is humble.

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Zoezoe's picture
Zoezoe 10 December, 2017 - 19:34

I think that athletes are good role models for teenagers, most of the time. They are great examples of hard-working, passionate and strong people. For me, certain sportsmen are really inspiring, because of they have proved that giving up isn't a choice and the only road to success is hard work. My idols are Ivana Spanovic, Thiam Nafi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mihail Dudas.

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mavis2002's picture
mavis2002 19 December, 2016 - 20:21

They are good if they have good manners near sport .
I haven't sportsman role model.
I can't find best one!!

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MALINE's picture
MALINE 3 November, 2013 - 17:06

yes,they can be real good models,they prove that if you do something with passion regardless the age tou can success at it.

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justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 4 September, 2013 - 14:56

I think they are awesome rolemodles for us. I've learned a lot by mine. Like never quit from Andy Murray, the current no. 3 tennis player, whats done is done look for the future from Alastair Cook the England ODI and Test cricket skipper and oads of stuff. Andy Murray inspires me from his struggles, Alastair Cook has inspired me from his strong leadership, Stuart Broad from his talant and spirit and Charlotte Edwards inspires me through her strong captaincy and batting.

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onedirectionlover2002's picture
onedirectionlov... 20 June, 2013 - 07:40

Yes I do think so. They are great role models for us. Mine are Andy Murray and Alastair Cook. Murray's world no. 2 and very good. He never quits. Cook's batting is awesome and he's the English Captain.
Laura Robson has inspired me a lot too. She is a hard working young tennis player. She has won the mixed doubles Olympic Gold.

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sada wane's picture
sada wane 24 April, 2013 - 21:24

hello i'm a little soccer men for louisville ky every month i go to africa and i given a money to the association

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Natalija's picture
Natalija 23 March, 2013 - 13:25

I think that they really can be good role models for us, esp when it's about young successful sportsmen and sportswomen. My role model is Novak Djokovic. He is the most famous tennis player in my country and he's 1st at the ATP list. I really appreciate his work. He is diligent, hardworking, persistent and ambitious and I find that we can learn so much from him.
And when about sportswomen, I appreciate the most Zara Phillips. She is a respected English equestrian, and the member of royal family. I like riding the most and I think she is talented and gorgeous. She has also participated in Olympic games and I think she won some award.

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Irini Real Madrid's picture
Irini Real Madrid 9 March, 2013 - 10:05

spotsman are fantastic especially when play football
i love cristiano ronaldo

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m.tayyab's picture
m.tayyab 3 August, 2012 - 07:30

Sportsmen which i like much is the shahid afridi in Pakistan team. He is a good all rounder for pakistani team. He is a true role model for te young ones because he very nice and true countrymen for his nation. A sportsmen can give a positive thinks to anyone whose he is role model because a sportmen always has a positivity in his mind otherwise he can't be a good sportmen.

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