Sports of Sociology Sports is a social and political tool. The public and political systems value and appreciate athletes who demonstrate diplomacy and progress a particular nation’s emblem. Similarly, the governing bodies place stiff penalties of dishonest athletes (Sage & Eitzen, 2013). Lance Armstrong rose to prominence because of his success on the pitch. The Olympic bronze medal and seven wins in the Tour de France made him the nation’s darling and an icon across the globe. In turn, he thrived and established successful programs such as the Live Strong cancer center. However, he lost the glory when he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his successes.
Armstrong’s life events illustrate that sports progress the foreign policies and public image. Corporations use athletes because of their fame to promote brands across the globe. Likewise, athletes promote political systems or political goals of their nations. Therefore, bad behavior such as doping taints the countries or firms public image. The actions also affect profit margins of the sponsoring businesses. Hence, this explains why the corporations terminated their promotion agreements with the athlete. Lance Armstrong acted as a symbol of national unity and promoter of social change.
Many citizens and especially looked up to him for inspiration. In addition, the cancer treatment project served to provide hope for the ill regardless of their social classes. In the contemporary society, successful athletes facilitate social change such as motivational talks, encourage people to register and vote and discourage drug abuse among citizens (Sage & Eitzen, 2013). Hence, the public expect the successful athletes to live by example. An unfortunate scenario like Armstrong’s use of drugs led to public mistrust.
However, the public and political aspirations influence the athletes’ behavior. Sportsmen and women represent their nations to the world. Their success depicts a country political, economic and social prosperity. Therefore, governments offer rewards to entice their athletes. Multinationals also reward the victors with lucrative deals as brand ambassadors. In addition, some receive appointments to serve in important sectors.
The enthusiasm to win pushes the athletes to cheat or use drugs. In regards to Armstrong’s case, he admitted using the drugs for over a decade. It meant that he based his entire career on drugs a fact that he denied on several occasions. The issue raises questions like, what government policies and sports regulations are available for countering doping? What is the seriousness of the anti-doping bodies? What structures are in place to develop athletes that consider their psychological development alongside physical maturity? (Smith, 2010).
The response to the mentioned questions highlights that sports ministries and governing bodies sometimes palpably ignore doping among athletes. It explains that they focus on results instead of sustainability of the sports and the overall development of the athletes. Therefore, the public should stop the perception of the athletes who us drugs as failures. Instead, the government and the international sports community should collaborate to promote good sportsmanship (Sugden & Tomlinson, 2013).
In conclusion, great athletes such as Lance Armstrong are promoters of change. Their broad following and influence makes them adorable to the public and qualifies them as state ambassadors. However, the prominence and the desire to keep the status makes them vulnerable to cheat or use drugs. Thus, everyone should understand their situation and work together to ensure a safe society and healthy living among the athletes.
Sage, G. H., & Eitzen, D. S. (2013). Sociology of North American Sport. New York: Oxford University Press.
Smith, E. (2010). Sociology of sport and social theory. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Sugden, J., & Tomlinson, A. (2013). Power Games: A Critical Sociology of Sport. United Kingdom: Routledge.