I am torn with the recent scandal involving Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. He was caught on camera apparently smoking marijuana from a bong.
I believe people are entitled to make a few mistakes in life. We are human and no one can expect perfection of each individual.
As a result, I realize people, including icons, falter on the road of life. I wasn't shocked that Phelps, 23, was caught doing something he should not have been doing.
Phelps has shown he is not superhuman in this recent scandal.
He was billed as such during the Olympics. He was put on a pedestal by the media and gained a great deal of notoriety for his feats. He became the "golden boy" from "on high." The press noted his unusual physical attributes that were said to assist his abilities to break world records in the pool.
But, he is still a young man prone to be less than perfect.
Yet, somehow we held him in higher regard than others. We had high expectations of someone who has achieved more than any other human...eight gold medals in one Olympiad.
I feel sorry for this young man because he fell from such a high place in the minds of all America through his actions.
He should face consequences, but we are responsible for making him into an icon. We helped our youngsters to idolize him. Corporate sponsors wanted him to represent them because they felt he holds high marketing value.
I think he can still hold a place of high regard in our society. The trust will need to be rebuilt. The forgiveness of the American public will have to be willingly given.
Phelps can be an example of someone who is not perfect, but in spite of his imperfections overcomes adversity.
We can say to our children, "Even gold medal winners do things that are not wise."
This man worked very hard and trained diligently to achieve all his goals. But, he is not God. He is a mere mortal and I think we can find it in our hearts to keep the stones on the ground.
It is my heartfelt prayer that, as a nation, we will learn to see Phelps as a human...rather than superhuman.