Who are the real heroes?

There’s no doubt Australia loves its sportspeople. Now in the throws of the Olympics, we are bombarded with media about these ‘heroes’. We can send ‘Hero Messages’ to support and congratulate them. We hang on to the hope of them bringing home the largest-ever haul of Gold Medals.

One radio ad has a male Olympian saying (with a profound tone and impactful pausing) “Every second of my life has led up to this moment.’

Guess what? Every second in my life has led up to this moment, too!

I think the potential result of this adulation of sportspeople is that we forget they are people. Human beings just like you and me. They have their strengths, their limitations, their skills and their Achilles heels. They’re not super-human, they’re not infallible.

Yes, they are exceptional in what they do.

But so are you. And so is the person who sits next to you at work, the person riding opposite you on the train.

There are countless ‘ordinary’ people who do extraordinary things every day. The quadriplegic who still wakes every day and makes the most of what they can do. The single parent who juggles work and family life, struggling to make ends meet and is doing a wonderful job in raising good human beings. The nurse in the operating theatre who literally helps save a life. The senior citizen who volunteers 50 hours a week to visit house-bound people with handicaps of some sort. The people who tirelessly deliver meals on wheels, work in soup kitchens, read books to the blind, visit lonely people with no family nearby who live in Nursing Homes.

And the list goes on.

So yes, enjoy the Olympics. Cheer for our country’s representatives. Celebrate their achievements.

But question whether or not they are our country’s real heroes.

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