< Back to all news

How to handle fame in sports.

Jaume Martí Mora

Sports Psychologist



Many of the people reading this article may have thought or dreamed of being famous at some point, and perhaps some of our readers already are. Fame is often associated with success, money, friends, social recognition, privileges, etc. Therefore, it is not surprising to consider it a highly desired and coveted state for the vast majority of individuals.

However, fame does not come on its own; a person usually becomes famous when they excel at something, when the media talks about them, when they are the centre of attention and stand out from the rest of society to which they belong. In the case of sports, it is clear that fame often comes from being a good athlete, even without the need to be the best.

Being a famous athlete has many advantages. For example, being invited to events and parties, being the centre of attention at them, having a photo or a simple comment on social media become news with thousands of "likes" and a viral message within minutes, not waiting in line at restaurants, even being invited to them, having many people approach with interest, brands paying good money to promote a product the athlete may not even believe in, having a team of people working for them providing maximum comfort and solving even the simplest problems, receiving expensive gifts, promotional cars, etc.

Fame apparently brings a series of benefits and advantages, but if fame arrives suddenly, at a young or early age, and without an environment that helps to be realistic, then fame can become the athlete's worst enemy. The situation worsens if the athlete is not aware of it.

"Do they envy me because I am rich, handsome, and famous?" Does this phrase sound familiar? It is a symptom of the loss of perception of reality that often leads to failures, psychological problems, and even suicides when the athlete ceases to be famous.

The XPRO Foundation, which safeguards the finances of retired players from the English Premier League, conducted a study with 30,000 retired players who had earned an average of 35,000 euros per week. In this study, it was discovered that 2 out of 5 players were plunged into absolute bankruptcy five years after ending their professional careers, and 1 in 3 had divorced or separated from their partners in the 12 months following their retirement from professional football. Others ended up with depression, social problems, etc. Clear evidence that the fame they enjoyed during their careers was not handled with sufficient maturity.

In these cases, fame is inevitable and does not depend on the athlete, but how to handle it does. When fame arrives, instead of relaxing and letting it take over, what needs to be done is to be very alert and keep it under control. It is important to maintain the same friendships, as they will remind us of where the authentic reality lies. From an economic perspective, living on approximately 25% of what is earned will prevent getting into a lifestyle that will be very difficult to sustain or accept later on. Prioritizing family and not involving them too much in the sport will allow the athlete to view fame from a distance. Contributing experientially to social assistance experiences, such as accompanying an elderly person for a walk once a week, can also provide a healthy perspective. Additionally, seeking advice from a sports psychologist who can help plan all of this is crucial.

Here is the link to Jaume Martí's course: