In 2009, a British tabloid printed a picture of Phelps holding a bong, at the University of South Carolina in November of 2008, three months after his triumphant, historic eight-gold medal performance in Beijing. In 2014, he was charged with drunk driving.
I’ll be honest, I thought he was done.
Olympic medalist and “all around good guy” was obviously going to lose and did lose a lot of endorsements and moms and dads were watching, wondering if they were going to have to talk to their kids about another celebrity/athlete fail but interestingly enough, it does validate the fact that we have a very short memory when it comes to these things and his winning in Rio, helps us all forget any of his troubles.
In light of how well he is doing in Rio, it does seem that while we easily forget the bad stuff, he may not be as marketable moving forward as we think, based on visibility and the very reason he has been able to find success, even with his mistakes, is that we also forget what isn’t in front of us and very soon, all the excitement of Rio will be a memory and we’ll be onto something else. What Michael Phelps does post Olympics will set the stage for his relevance after all of his days in the pool and it will be a lot of fun to see what he might do next.
Watching him has made me think about our own business as we navigate the waters of big vs. small business and while we aren’t dealing with any of the issues of a superstar swimmer, there are two things we deal with all the time…keeping our head above water and making sure we aren’t forgotten as companies continue to look for the latest and greatest when loyalty isn’t always front and center.
In a pre-election year (I won’t even go into that!), brands are nervous and there’s been a lot of change at a number of our clients. We have had to think like an Olympic athlete to continue to evolve our business and more importantly, serve our clients in a way that makes them confident in our ability to help them be even better than they though they thought they could.
Every week is an adventure for our small business and some of those adventures aren’t super fun. This week, in particular, has shown me that the little guy definitely doesn’t always win, even when she should.
But if Michael Phelps has taught me anything, it really isn’t about “how hard you fall, but how fast you get up.” His six medals in Rio prove just that.