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CyclingTips Editorial: Athlete or Influencer? Can Athletes Just Be Athletes Anymore?

The following is an excerpt from my recent article on CyclingTips regarding the Life Time Grand Prix:

I hope there is still room for young athletes who have performance goals without follower or subscriber goals.

You’d think every athlete would be psyched to hear about the announcement of a new big-money off-road series in North America, right? A $250,000 prize purse sounds awesome on the surface but as I read through the details of the recently announced Life Time Grand Prix I started to see a few issues and ideas that raised some concerns.

Life Time’s excitement was great but I felt they had fumbled a chance to fulfill their stated goals to create opportunity and grow professional racing at the highest level in North America. From an athlete’s perspective, I had some feedback that I felt could help improve these goals. Some of the commentary from Life Time was also problematic to me as an athlete and I saw some consequences that I felt could be unhealthy.

Among my biggest concerns was corrupting the democratic process of entry to the top level of sport and turning it into a somewhat divisive application procedure. Instead of working hard to prove themselves athletically, riders would now be asked to first apply, promote themselves, and submit a video describing why they deserved a spot in the new series. On the application, one of the first questions asked was what I felt I could bring to the Life Time Grand Prix? My answer was constructive criticism.

They didn’t ask for my opinion, nor that of many of my experienced peers, but from what I saw Life Time could have used a few different outside perspectives. I answered the questions honestly on the application, shared some of my opinions publicly, and waited to see if I would make the cut. (I did not.)

The debate about whether I “deserve” a spot is irrelevant to me. My question is: should athletes even need to apply?

Read the entire article here:

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