The role-model argument is an obvious furphy. Nary a week goes by without yet another scandal involving an elite athlete - be it drugs, alcohol or violence. As role models, they certainly are poor choices. Athletes, by definition, are obsessive often to the point of being clinically compulsive in their behaviour. They have a disturbing willingness to seriously risk their bodies, and a desire to best all comers, not work co-operatively, but beat and crush their opponents. A singular obsession that excludes the possibility of a balanced life. And the most scary message we get is neatly summed up by a certain giant footwear company slogan from the Atlanta Games in 1996 - "second is first loser".
But surely everyone wants to be like Shane Warne?