At the time I am writing this paper, Michael Phelps has just tied the Olympic record for most medals earned. This is an amazing achievement. The dedication he has to his sport and the level of fitness he has been able to maintain seems unbelievable to me, a guy you struggles to keep his own fitness level at ‘average’. I don’t want to single out Phelps for his Olympic endeavors as currently all the US Olympians are performing very well. However, the success of these Olympians is not theirs to own and as such their medals should be turned over to the people of the United States.
The majority of these athletes have been practicing their sports for their entire lives. Countless weekend meets, practices early in the morning before school, practices late at night after school; not to mention that loss of a life times worth social interaction many associate with the adolescent and young adult years.
This is only a small portion of the story. Every athlete had a coach that needed to be there for those practices and meets. All of the athletes required that parents or guardians chauffer them to these same practices and meets. The cost associated with helping your child advance to Olympic quality athleticism would bankrupt the normal family. These contributions to an Olympians career must not be overshadowed as without them the career would be nonexistence.
For all the support they receive from their immediate friends, family and coaches; it still dwarfs the widespread aid that was given to them by the citizens of the US. Every road, every stop sign, every flight controlled by the FAA, the police willing to keep the training center safe, the regulations that mandated your equipment be built to safe standards, the fire department that was on call incase your facilities caught fire and finally our national defenses that allowed for them to practice without the risk of the Russians or Chinese kidnapping them for their own Olympic squads.
So while yes, the physical development and personal dedication belongs on the shoulders of the individual Olympian, they depended on the rest of our country for that personal development to progress to Olympic standards. Thus it is only fair every medal won at the Olympics be collected and maintained by the United States. Athletes can take their experience and the training they received as their reward. However, “part of the underlying social contract is you pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”(Warren 2012) As a result of this underlying social contract I demand that these medals be collected and become property of the United States. “The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”(Obama 2012)
Is this the proper handling of the US Olympian’s medals? Please explain why success at this level is not shared equitably while success on a monetary level is expected to be redistributed for the betterment of society.