What does a hero/heroine mean to you? My perception has always been that this referred to someone who is exceptionally brave, someone who puts their life on the line in some way for another being or cause. For me Gandi, Mandela, they were heroes. A person who dives into a raging river to free people from a submerged car, mountain rescue teams who turn out in blizzard conditions to rescue missing persons, they are heroes, their acts are selfless.
I turn to Beijing, our Olympic competitors are performing magnificently, they are winning the UK a record haul of medals. They have trained hard, dedicated themselves to becoming top-class athletes, are they heroes though, that’s what the media are calling them? I’m not trying to denigrate their achievements, in their fields they are outstanding but I feel that to hail them as heroes is to take an accolade away from individuals who have performed ‘feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life’. Yes, they do have extraordinary prowess, ‘nobility of purpose’ though, no as athletes are not altruistic and I feel that this is the root of heroism.
Salute our Olympians, yes but please reserve the accolade of heroine for a person who truly deserves it.