Monday, November 24, 2014

Article #4

Rethinking Risk - Andrew Bisharat

          Andrew Bisharat takes a look at the decision made by "Clif" to stop sponsoring athletes who take on high-risk sports and gives us an honest opinion on the effect of media and corporations on athletes.

         Clif's withdrawal of five athletes' sponsorship comes after a rising trend of willingness to take higher risks for promoting brands or getting video views. Steph Davis is a professional climber, free-soloist, BASE jumper, and wing suit pilot. She says she wasn't surprised by Clif's decision, however the media out roar that ensued couldn't be predicted. From NYT articles to dozens of posts on Clif's Facebook page, it seems the public thinks that athletes should be responsible for their own choices. Risk can be broken down into 4 elements: Your personal skill set, The skill set required for the feat, The objective hazards,and Steps you take towards controlling those hazards. What's dangerous for one person can be a walk in the park for another, and that's why Andrew Bisharat argues that Clif cannot blindly draw a line without knowing the particular circumstances for each person. 

        I thought this article was really well written and contained many valid points from both sides of the argument. I can really relate to the whole "Kodak confidence" thing because I know I am often more willing to take risks (especially dh skiing) when a friend brings along a go-pro. I imagine this effect is amplified a lot for athletes who rely on money from sponsors to continue their sport. This is why I find it a bit ironical that Clif is stripping sponsorships for athletes who are willing to take that extra risk. Personally I don't agree with Clif's reasoning because I think athletes know what they're putting on the line at that level, and I don't think anyone does these kind of extreme sports for the money. 

        Those who are willing to push the limits of the sport do it to test themselves and prove to themselves that they are capable, not to convince people to buy a Clif bar. 

Bisharat, Andrew. "Opinion: Rethinking Risk." Beyond the Edge. National Geographic, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

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