Gold behind the medals

Gold behind the medals

By Joyce Wong, Renaissance College

The Vancouver Winter Olympics finally came to a close on Sunday.

The United States won the most medals, though Canada came away with the biggest haul of gold medals.

One important feature was South Korea's victory in figure skating. Kim Yu-na, 19, won her nation's first gold medal in the sport, beating fierce competition from Japan and Canada.

The pressure to win was immense because of her popularity back home where Kim's image is used to sell everything from cars to government campaigns.

Endorsement deals have made Kim a millionaire - she made US$8 million from contracts and prize money last year. She is as much a money-making machine as an athlete now.

This is true in other sports as well, such as soccer and basketball, where many players make more money than celebrities. Some of these athletes may be at the top of their game, but perhaps the money is holding back the spirit of those games.

Sport should be about taking part in something one loves.

Though recognition and reward is important, the amount of money some athletes receive is excessive. Sport is now seen as one big financial opportunity.

Athletes are sportsmen and their goal should not be to turn gold medals into real gold.

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