Dear Olympic Athlete’s Association:
You will be missed. We are sad to see such a talented young man go, and try to understand, if we can, why it happened. When we think of someone, and we think of you, it often isn’t so much about what they’ve achieved in life, what sport they play, and what they do when they step off the track. What we think of you is the “back story”: the story of how you evolved into the person you are. That stories is where the Olympic athlete’s association, and sport’s agencies, role in a young man’s life really becomes important.
Even if we don’t always fully understand where our artists came from, how they grew up, we do know that they become who they are because of someone important in their life. Your role as agent is important. It is important, because you are buying into the story of what the future generation of athletes can be. Now, many of these people will never get their major sports careers. It’s not what their agent wishes. It’s not what the media wants, either. But the stories you tell are not necessarily part of the normal story of their journey. And, as I said, they stay with athletes like Lewis Hamilton, who only dreamed of becoming a Formula One world champion before he first appeared in your photograph on the podium, and keep with all generations of athletes and even people that aren’t athletic in any way, shape or form.
The fact is, these athletes and the agents that represent them are not just acting as role models to millions around the world, they are role models to our children. We may think, in our heads, that athletes are living fantastic lives, but at the end of the day, they are still just average human beings. And it doesn’t matter what their career or life has turned out to be in the end. They are still people, just like us.
Lewis, it makes me wonder how happy he’s been over the past 15 years. What is it that you’ve said to your partner, Nicole, over those years that would cause him to end up being one of the world’s best race drivers? How do we even imagine what it’s like to have your shoes on your feet, racing in an F1 grand prix in Singapore? I wonder how difficult it must be for you to watch your fellow Brits struggle, and people thinking, “This Brit does it all, but he didn’t make it.” I know this has always been a daydream of mine. But in the end, Lewis, it’s what many of us dream of.
I am not afraid to say that your story is one I would tell to my kids. Your life is an inspiration to me. And for all you see, as you strut down your long line of champagne flutes, as you get up there on the podium, telling your wife how pleased you are that you’ve just won, then I know you’re a true sporting hero.
The athlete’s association will never be the same. There will always be those who will fill the void left by your unique path. They can only emulate your story. I hope this will be enough to help others reach their dreams. But that will never be enough. What we, as an athlete’s association, have to do is to think of how we can be more successful and how we can help athletes reach the next level. Because, the truth is, we want them to reach the top.