However he is a “Sporting Hero”!
So why do I bring this up?
It is in response to an article by Mia Freedman in last weekend’s SMH about an incident on a TV show that she appears on with someone called Karl Stefanovic.
In brief, the discussion was about the efforts of Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France and Mia’s indifference to that achievement.
I’ll just quote this section from her article – you can read the entire article here
My first inkling that I was swimming against an almighty tide of patriotic sentiment was when the floor crew, many of whom I’ve known for years, jeered me loudly. Gamely and somewhat clumsily, I persevered, trying to explain how I wished we afforded the same praise and glory to those doing amazing things in other, non-sporting fields. Karl got huffy at this point, calling me ignorant, demanding I read Cadel’s biography and pretty much accusing me of blowing my nose into the Australian flag. I huffed back, insisting there were hundreds of unsung Australian ”heroes” whose names we’d never know because sport sucked up so much media oxygen. Names such as those two female surgeons who successfully separated Siamese twins Trishna and Krishna in Melbourne. Who were they again?
My take is simply that there are “heroes” and “Heroes”.
The former are people who have done heroic deeds, in particular – putting their life on the line for another person. The most recent example being Constable Karen Lowden, who sat with Madeleine Pulver for three hours under the impression that both of them could have been blown up at any moment.
The latter are created by the media – hence the capital H.
So Mia I did some Googling for you. The most obvious is “war hero” which generated 3,880,000 results (fair enough). But Mia you might be surprised to note that “sporting hero” (365,000 results) was outdone by “film hero” (379,000 results) while “TV hero” came in at 198,000 (is your mate Karl one of them?).
Picking up on Mia’s angst about other heroes, she is right, they all do very badly. “Medical hero” garnered only 22,100 results, and the arts industry actually does better – “Arts hero” – 74,200; “Filmmaking hero”, 2,010 and “painting hero”, 74,600 (Mia referenced Margaret Olley)
In the event industry we get to see a lot of presentations by “inspirational speakers” (a term I dislike), but in all my years in the industry I can only name one “hero” who I have heard, and that was Peter Davidson. Peter is a mobile intensive care paramedic – the guy hanging out of a chopper on the end of the wire – who saved eight lives during the disastrous 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race. I still get tingles up the back of my neck when I recall his presentation and how he talked about just doing the job he was trained for.
And the most inspirational speaker I’ve heard – Dr Fiona Wood.
But back to Mia – stick to your guns girl. I was up to 2 AM most nights of the Tour de France because I do love the event. But it is not a life or death event even if some of the drivers the riders had to contend with were a challenge.
So let’s just be clear about the difference between a hero and a Hero.