The Blurred Line

BY Julian Yap Joe Nin

In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, British divers, Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow, each won a bronze medal in the men’s synchronized 10m-platform event with a score of 444.45.

Impressive.

But, not enough to take down USA’s David Boudia and Steele Johnson, and China’s Chen Aisen and Lin Yue, who won silver and gold in this event.

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Goodfellow and Daley at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Photo Credit: The Guardian

The big question here is – who is ‘Daniel Goodfellow’?

Why do not many know about this 19-year-old British diver from Cambridge?

Blame the media and the press for mainly covering Daley in the news instead of giving equal credit to both Daley and Goodfellow for their win.

Consider, for example, The Daily Telegraph and the Times.

Photo Credits: The Daily Telegraph and The Times

The Daily Telegraph’s front page, featured an image of Daley alone with the headline: ‘Daley makes a splash for bronze.’

It just gets worse.

In a back-page spread of the 2016 August edition of The Times, the diving pair was referred to as ‘Daley and synchronised partner.’

Thanks to British presenter and former Welsh gymnast, Gabby Logan for pointing out this absolute ridicule.

This is wrong. This has to stop.

The media can definitely do way better than this. So can the Times and any other news publication and media outlet out there.

It certainly would not hurt for the Times to acknowledge this ‘synchronised partner’ as Daniel Goodfellow in this partnership victory, which does not take one BUT two to succeed.

Like any other Olympic athlete, these two divers have rigorously trained day and night for that one shot at achieving victory – The Summer Olympic Games takes place only once every four years.

Being a bronze medalist, let alone, an Olympian is certainly not easy.

Daley and Goodfellow’s achievement at the Rio Olympics should not be taken lightly.

We, as citizens of the public, should not hesitate to hold news organisations like the Daily Telegraph and the Times accountable for such lousy reporting- devaluing Goodfellow’s crucial involvement and participation in achieving that bronze medal.

One thing is clear when it comes to diving or at least, diving within Great Britain – Tom Daley is the face of the sport.

This is the truth.

It is really difficult to dispute this, and I’ll tell you why.

Diving - Olympics: Day 5
Laugher and Mears winning gold for the Men’s Diving Synchronised 3m Springboard Final, Photo Credit: Sky News

Chris Mears and Jack Laugher. Ring any bell?

These two British divers have recently made history at the 2016 Rio Olympics by winning gold in the synchronized 3m-springboard event – the first Olympic gold medal for Britain in diving.

Why is there not much buzz about these two? Why are these two British names not merely as memorable as Daley’s?

This is why.

Think of Daley as a brand ambassador.

Fashion and pop culture are so connected these days that many brands feel the need to promote themselves via the use of celebrities.

Photo Credits: Instyle and The Huffington Post

Take, for example, Dior and Chanel.

When consumers in the fashion market think of Dior, they think of Jennifer Lawrence. With Chanel, the English actress Keira Knightley comes to mind.

When it comes to sports, it works the exact same way.

Michael Phelps – the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals is whom most people immediately think of as the Michael Jordan of swimming with Ryan Lochte slowly trailing behind him.

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Lochte and Phelps all for smiles after a swimming race, Photo Credit: Sporting News

This is the problem.

The use of celebrities endorsing a brand or even, athletes inevitably becoming the face of a sport is a ‘double-edged sword.’

Celebrity spokesmodels detract our attention away from the creative and artistic expression of the brand and focuses more on the ‘exclusivity’ rather than the democratic point of view.

It is certainly much more interesting to see how each individual interprets the clothing in their own way instead of emulating what the brand tells us is acceptable and trendy at this moment.

Like brands, we begin to turn our heads away from the main attributes of makes Lochte and Daley such great athletes in the first place – their skill, technique, form and mindset.

Take, Daley, for example.

In 2013, Daley made his debut as a mentor to celebrity competitors in a new celebrity diving reality TV show called Splash!.

He is incredibly active on social media. He has been creating and posting videos on his own YouTube channel, ‘Tom Daley’ regularly for several years now. His videos range from health and fitness tips including his #DaleyRoutine to vlogs to the Olympics.

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However, he is probably most known for using the YouTube platform to come out as gay and his announcing of being in a relationship with American screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black.

As fascinating as all this is, these bells and whistles are what propelled Daley from an athlete into celebrity status.

This is probably why widely read newspaper publications like the Daily Telegraph and the Times chose to talk more about Daley and completely ignore his synchronized diving partner, Goodfellow, whom he won a bronze medal with.

At the end of the day, sports works just like any other clothing brand.

Underneath all those bells and whistles, what makes Daley a great athlete?

That’s what everyone cares about. That’s what I care about.

Not the embellishments that go over it.

Likewise, any clothing brand needs to have that ‘X-factor’ – to ensure the longevity of its business without having to depend on something or someone that is only ‘cool’ and ‘current’ for a short period of time.

Cheers

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