Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Je ne sais quoi

What is it? To have that thing about you, "I don't know what"... some people have it, others fade into history. Very few athletes will launch their careers from their new found success, and after the party ends life will go back to normal. A gold doesn't guarantee fame. Looks, attitude and universal appeal can be spun into greater fortune, but only for a select few.

Lindsey Vonn's girl next door charm, Shaun White's fiery mop as he jumps into new heights, Johnny Weir's theatrical personality, Sven Kramer's Ken doll appeal, Simon Amman's childlike zest, and the elegant beauty of Kim Yu-Na (left). They have something more, otherwise many gold medalists would also draw multi million dollar endorsement deals and maintain the public curiosity. Shining brighter than the rest, they aren't so different from celebrity singers, actors, and politicians who have captured the public's imagination.

Will we see the next Sergei Grinkov and Ekaterina Gordeeva? Hermann Maier?

As the Olympic celebration nears the end, you can be sure you'll see a few of these faces grace the covers of magazines, clothing ads, and televisions spots. Keeping their eye on the prize, they just need to remember to keep their edge without spinning out of control. The public are a fickle lot and we don't forgive easily.