Monday, August 18, 2008

"Olympians’ marketing shelf lives are notoriously short"

The image of the young man soaking wet, mouth wide open and seeming to holler something at the top of his voice will never leave me. It is one thing that I will take home from the 2008 Olympics. I think he was screaming – “YAH!!!!” or was it “Arghhhhhh!”

Michael Phelps left his mark on the world that day as he won another Gold Medal in the swimming event.

This is one excited young man! His goals were higher than anyone in the world – wanting and expecting 8 Gold Medals – 8 First and Best places in the sport at this Olympics that he is involved with. It was truly amazing what he did.

But there is something even more amazing than the wins he has this past week. The amazing thing is that he is worth a bundle before entering the Olympics – in fact that BUNDLE may be millions.

Daniel Dale, Staff Reporter with the Toronto Starr writes that “Michael Phelps’ record-breaking Olympic performance is really worth: $50 Million to $100 Million, marketing experts say.”!

I think I might dress is a Speedo and splash the water a lot too – if I had just made a possible $100 Million dollars!!!! Or is that…someone would have to pay me a Million to dress in a Speedo…?

Dale reports that Phelps already makes an estimated $5 Million a year in endorsements from Speedo, Visa, AT&T, PowerBar, watchmaker Omega, performance drink maker PureSport and the language-instruction software designer Rosetta Stone.

No wonder the Olympics make him shout – he is worth more than anyone came imagine – at least for a little while.

The article caught my eye because it pointed to the fact that “Olympians’ marketing shelf lives are notoriously short.” In other words Mr. Phelps may be here today and gone tomorrow. Before people world wide see Phelps again it will be in the pool in London, England in 2012.

Dale quotes/points to some experts…
"With baseball pennant races and the start of the NFL and college football seasons approaching, Swangard thinks Phelps' star could fade fast. Portnoy thinks he can sustain about 18 months of "intense exposure." "

Now Back to “Transitions”…connecting some dots…
William Bridges stated that every transition has three parts, “the End, the Neutral Zone and the New Beginning”.

I have thought about that Neutral Zone a lot in relationship to the athletes at the Olympics. What happens in 18 months time when it is all over… when no one calls anymore and no one wants anymore of your presence? For the moment you can shout at the top of your lungs “YAH!” but do that in 18 months time and the only part that you may play is King Kong in a B movie.

How will they handle it? The Neutral Zone could be long a terrible without help.

Someone told me that after he went unemployed – people called him for the first few weeks then it all stopped. No more calls. He said that he felt like he had leprosy or something – people avoided him on every side. It may have been the hardest part of not being wanted anymore… having no meaning… no purpose and left to you own.

Pastors are a whole lot more like Olympians than they may think. Each sermon is a 100 Meter possibility and some are 3 km runs. Each Pastorate is like an eternal Olympic training period with one big game at that end. You are never sure what will happen just around the bend or after the next few months.

The part that is unlike the Olympian is that our manager/coach is God and he has a bigger plan.

Listening to the plans of my nephew Zach Bell has been a good example for me. He is not as noisy as Phelps. He has quiet plans in place and he is listening to his coaches. Immediately after the Olympics he will begin working toward 2012 in London, England. Providing the sponsors that he has developed over these last years continue to support him – he will go on. But at a ripe age of 25 years old that will make him 29 – and he didn’t get a medal – he placed 7th.

Now – how much is that like you and me? You and I are now older. You are not known now for the original “Gold Medal” that you once won. Your shelf life is short in terms of the next big adventure. Then the gentle words, from a loving daughter comes your way… “It’s okay Dad will take care of you.”

My reply is “NOT!” – but I know who will… and He is my Coach!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
Zach Bell video - from TV report-

Article by Daniel Dale – Staff Reporter – The Star

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