Olympians Not Immune to Bullying

Thursday August 16, 2012

By Sherri M. Gordon

If you're like me, you were glued to the television during the Olympics. There were some great battles and some amazing physical accomplishments in this year's competition.

Michael Phelps of the United States earned 22 Olympic medals in his career making him the greatest Olympian of all times. And, Usain Bolt of Jamaica astonished everyone with his amazing speed. Meanwhile, Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee from South Africa was an inspiration for having the courage to compete on his carbon blades.

The list is endless when it comes to recognizing the amazing accomplishments of this year's Olympic athletes. Regardless of whether or not they received a medal, these athletes are the best of the best. They earned what most people can only dream of - the distinct privilege of participating in the Olympics and representing their countries. And yet despite all they have accomplished, they still are not immune to bullying.

In fact, in this year's Olympics, there are a number of cases where athletes were bullied. For instance, Tom Daley, a British diver, was cyberbullied with malicious Twitter messages by a 17-year-old boy who was later arrested. Meanwhile, Jessica Ennis, who won a gold medal in the heptathlon, has been called "fat" and accused of carrying "too much weight." Even John Orozco, a gymnast from the United States, has had to overcome bullying from classmates for competing in gymnastics.

But bullying of athletes is not just limited to the Olympians. Many kids in youth sports must deal with bullying on a daily basis. Whether it's a cruel teammate who points out every flaw or a group of teammates that intimidate the best player, bullying in sports is a growing problem.

If your child is dealing with bullying in sports, it can be a sports-ending experience if it's not handled right away. For ideas on what you can do to help your kids deal with bullies on sports teams, check out my article, 8 Ways Parents Can Address Bullying in Sports.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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