Face of the Olympics?

As the 2012 London Olympics wind down, it’s time to start thinking about what athlete will be the face of these games for years to come. Will it be Michael Phelps? He turned in a performance, not quite as dominant as Beijing, but enough to make him the most decorated Olympian ever. Maybe it was Gabby Douglas who led to the USA Women’s Gymnastics team to a gold medal, as well as winning the individual All-Around gold medal. Or is the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, who recently became the first man to win both the 100m and 200m in consecutive Olympic games. Now, call me biased because I picked two Americans on this list, but hey let’s be honest, would you be interested if I listed Sammy Wanjiru? Don’t Google him now, he is from Kenya.

Let’s start with Phelps, he already had several endorsements, and his performance in London will just add to the money he will be able to rake in. Bolt is in the same situation, already a popular face that we knew; now he is just adding to the legacy. However, Gabby is completely different. Did you know her name before the London Olympics started? Unless you religiously follow gymnastics, then you probably didn’t. As much flack as people want to give her about her hair (which is completely ridiculous in my opinion) they can’t deny her overwhelming talent and bubbly personality. Her backstory is an interesting one. Imagine moving several states away from your family, at her age, to train for an entire year. Her dedication to her craft obviously paid off in the form of two gold medals, and the prospect of several million dollars in endorsements. And what did she say when asked about how she did it? Gabby stated “I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me”.

​Now you tell me who the face of the Olympics was….

This piece was written for The Reader by Gregory Carl Hairston, Jr., a 2011 graduate of Elon University. He is the Assistant Director of Marketing for Athletics at Elon University as well as an avid (and well-rounded) sports fan.

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