Winning the gold medal in the Olympics is hard and it is impressive. However, how does one measure relative difficulty? True, an immense amount of work needs to be invested in winning the gold, but what truly impresses a cynic (such as myself, perhaps) is that full-time mom of three who still makes time for that gym class every weekday, and who still manages to look good. Being a professional athlete whose nine to five is training with the best coaches, and getting paid for it, not to mention extra revenue from publicity, doesn’t really sound like much of a big deal if you look at it from that perspective. Isn’t that why they have weight categories in sports? Isn’t that why they have gender divisions, age categories in certain sports, and even special disability categories? These divisions are to give some credit to the little guy. True, a 56kg male weightlifter will never lift as much as an athlete double his body weight, but I’m sure he can lift more than the big guy pound for pound.
It’s the analogy of the elephant and the ant; even though an elephant can lift a bus and is probably the strongest land animal on earth in absolute numbers, the ant is the strongest on the planet in relative numbers, because it can lift fifteen times its own weight. Elephants can’t do pull-ups, and perhaps most Olympians can’t handle the gym after a hectic day at the office and at home.
My point is this: Professional athletes get paid to perform. It’s their job and it’s expected, therefore it isn’t special. But none of them go to work in the office for free as a hobby after their 9–5 training. Professional athletes do have impressive athletic performance. However, a full-time working mom of three kids who spends 10–14 hours a day working and commuting, then has to take care of her home and children but STILL finds makes for that fitness class is truly admirable. In relative values, the mom performs better than an elite athlete. So, perhaps it’s wise to be skeptical of where dues are owed.
Article originally posted on Medium.