Nick Gordon
2 minute read
31 Jul 2015
2:00 pm

Officials bask in glory not of their making

Nick Gordon

This selfie thing is getting out of hand. It’s become an epidemic.

Generally speaking it’s an affliction that befalls teeny-boppers, extreme narcissists and, rather alarmingly, guys who have no shame in stopping mid-workout to whip out their smartphones in the gym.

Now I’m not saying I’m averse to posing for the odd selfie, but in fairness, they’re generally snapped with my missus when nobody else is around to take the picture for us. Nowadays photo opportunities are never few and far between –just ask politicians and sports administrators.

They love an exercise in public relations. If you’ve carried on reading after the opening paragraphs you might start asking where I’m going with this. Well in the last week I’ve spotted two talking points that will both invariably involve those in their ivory towers trying to muscle in on achievements in the sporting world.

Take open water swimmer Chad Ho and his outstanding effort to win the country’s first gold medal in the 5km at the Fina World Championships at the weekend. That medal belongs to nobody but Ho. He did after all have to crowd-fund his trip the event in Russia.

For those not familiar with the concept of crowd-funding it’s basically putting your cap in hand and asking strangers for donations except that it’s done on the Internet. He’d no doubt have asked for advice on how to go about it from Roland Schoeman. He was the person who informed the Twitterverse that those were the circumstances surrounding Ho’s participation in Kazan.

Schoeman, who has served South African swimming with aplomb and has the medals to show for it, is doing the same a er the powers-that-be kept the purse strings pulled tight. Now I would gladly put money on Fikile Mbalula or someone from Sascoc draping their arm around Ho and grinning with the golden boy on his return.

We’ve seen this play out before. There was also the e-mail that came from the Minister’s office last week that hailed the efforts of Team MTN-Qhubeka at the Tour de France and how great it was that investment from the private sector had propelled them to excel.

The statement drew a response from one of South Africa’s most well-known cycling personalities and the first rider from Mzansi to compete in the Tour de France who tweeted: “Maybe now we can actually do a bit more for the sport in South Africa”.

Best believe we’ll see a picture with the team and administrators some time soon. I just hope they don’t swap suits for lycra. In closing, I guess it would be appropriate to add that one should always check one’s selfie before you wreck one’s selfie. A play on rapper Ice-Cube’s much-loved and often-quoted lyrics.