Updated on January 13th, 2018
Times have changed: when once musicians were at the pinnacle of society, sports stars now reign supreme. Rock stars used to be the most respected and most loved people in the world, going from continent to continent spreading their music and showing everyone a good time.
Now, while musicians are still very popular, people are more drawn to sports stars. This can all loosely be boiled down to the change in times: where the rock stars of the 20th century were preaching for change and individuality in a time when people were finally starting to be able to come out of their shells, sports stars of today represent the strive for human perfection and advancement in a technology-driven era.
Both musicians and sports stars have always been huge focal points in society and pop culture, bringing entertainment and posing as idols in very different ways, but sports stars seem to have edged out the musicians in the public eye in recent times.
Times of perfection
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With technology and science comes revelations of health and fitness that enable people to become the best that they can be. Nowadays, to be the very best in a sport, you need to be fine-tuned physically and technically, putting in years of practice to succeed, and people look up to both the finished, healthy product as well as the dedication required to get there.
With so many ways to forge a healthy diet and exercise well, even from home, people can actively try to reach the peaks of these sports stars. Fitness can be achieved by anyone; it’s the honing in on specific skills and techniques which takes sports stars from relatable to respected.
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In a world that has put an impetus on getting fit and eating healthily, sports stars have become the best examples of the point trying to be sold to the general public. But it takes more than simply being a fine physical specimen to be a sports star; they need to be at least good at the sport and also have a likeable character.
One of the prime examples of this is Anthony Joshua. Along with a batch of very talented boxers, Anthony Joshua has revived boxing to bring it back to the headlines. With his fists doing the work in the ring and his down-to-earth yet charismatic persona garnering him fans outside of the stadiums, Joshua has shown that he has the perfect levels of athleticism and character to become a star.
According to The Telegraph, the draw of Anthony Joshua’s charisma is so strong that it even echoes that of Muhammad Ali. Having defeated the mighty Wladimir Klitschko in round 11 of a showdown for the ages, as well as defending his two major world heavyweight straps against Carlos Takam in a ten-round scrap, Joshua is now poised to be named the Sports Personality of the Year, according to Betway Insider – set to join the likes of the great Lennox Lewis and Henry Cooper.
The way that Joshua comports himself both in the ring and when in the public eye has made him a very likeable person, and then his incredible dedication to fitness and the sport of boxing has got people aspiring to be better.
Looking into other sports, many loved stars are sought out to advise on fitness for others as everyone wants to be the best that can be. Cristiano Ronaldo has been sought out many times to give tips on how he stays on top of the football world, as has the legendary, recently returned, three-time UFC champion Georges St-Pierre – who is known to be one of the most versatile mixed martial artists of all time and embarks on rigorous training routines to remain the best.
Subsequent marketing and entrenchment in pop-culture
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The fame and idolisation that comes with being a top sports star these days means that they become the perfect people to centre advertising campaigns around because so many aspire to be more like them. Anthony Joshua boasts a wide range of sponsors, from Beats and Lynx through to Lucozade and Altitude Mask.
Other sports stars that you’ll see in everyday adverts include the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Gianluigi Buffon for Head and Shoulders, Nicola Adams for E45, and Serena Williams for Tempur. From the increased fame of being in adverts, and the subsequent increase in sales of that product, big films even seek out sports stars to play cameos or even move into the business altogether to help promote movies.
For example, Georges St-Pierre (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014), Neymar (Fast and Furious 8, 2017), Mike Tyson (The Hangover, 2009), David Beckham (King Arthur, 2017), and even Sol Campbell (Snatch, 2000) have played minor or cameo roles, with the likes of Jason Statham (diving), Vinnie Jones (football), Terry Crews (american football), Dwayne Johnson (wrestling), and the most well-known of them all, Arnold Schwarzenegger (bodybuilding), all moving over to acting permanently.
Sports stars have become the rock stars of the 21st century thanks to focusing on healthy living and striving to be the best. This has subsequently made them very marketable, which is why we see them headlining advertising campaigns and appearing in movies. It’s great that people aspire to sports stars as it can only promote a healthier, more driven lifestyle.