I've always been intrigued and mildly amused by all of this. Work hard at school, get a demanding job, allow it to take over your life at the expense of family and friends, graft away, pay more than your fair share of taxes and eventually retire after four or five decades of busy industry into a comfortable old age and you're likely to be derided as a parasite, taxed all the more and booed by all flavours of government as an example of rampaging avarice, ripe for the pickings and ready to have your savings plundered.
Discover early that, by an accident of genes and encouragement, you can run a bit faster than the other kids, work at it because you enjoy it, with the full support of friends and family, win medals, get sponsorship, retire in your thirties and spend the rest of your life living off your youthful accomplishments and we not only give you yet more invented accolades, you may even be ennobled as well. Arise Sir Whole Olympic Team and enjoy the freedom of the realm.
I suppose in that sense 'celebrity' is the right word, in that we celebrate athletic achievement in the same way we celebrate being a face 'off of' the telly. And it is entirely fitting that we cheer on our teams to greater glory, after all, humans are a competitive species and sporting achievement is good for Britain. It attracts attention and where there's attention money is to be made. But I wonder how many young lives are actually derailed by the pursuit of sporting glory. After all, like life itself there can be only one winner in a field of gallant losers.
The winners go on the pedestal, the losers end up picking up the litter in the stadium. I think it's about time the equality and diversity industry got a grip on this whole thing. They should have a Runners-Up and Diversity Excellence Year award - the RUDEYs or a Sports Personality Under Nineteen Challenge (SPUNC) where everybody gets to win. That would be truly representative of modern Britain.
Of course the medals will have to be of the cheapest material available and the TV coverage necessarily derisory to get them all in, but it's what the politburo are aiming for because, after all, we are all equal.