CJ Mahaney: So what was Phelps searching for in that bong pipe? What emptiness in his soul was he trying to satisfy? Once again we are reminded that athletic gifting, championship trophies, gold medals, and million dollar endorsement deals cannot satisfy the soul." All the gold medals in the world fail to satisfy, which isn't really news - many have testified the same way before, and many will again in future. Searching in ourselves is fruitless.
And for us? Our gods fail us once more, because they're mere men. The appeal seems vast and each time we wonder if we've found the divine. And yet it seems that the cult of celebrity is just like chasing the wind. Doomed to frustration. The tragedy for us is that "we resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration" (GK Beale, We Become What we Worship, p311). We think we know what we'll be when we worship Bolt and Phelps, imagining ourselves to become superhuman, but man bowed at a mirror inevitably caves in on himself, becoming a shrivelled reflection of what he was meant to be. homo incurvatus in se.