The hero athlete's myth, 20 years later: on its currency in a digital world

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Maurício Pinto Marques
Mikael Almeida Corrêa


After 20 years since the publication of Katia Rubio’s book 'O atleta e o mito do herói', several changes have occurred in the media and in the sports world. The expansion of social media, for example, became a great influence on the athlete’s personal life and career, presenting new opportunities, but also new challenges. However, the athlete still lives his hero's journey, with only new elements, brought by the media and by social and market changes. This article presents certain ideas and symbols that, since the Ancient greek, help us to understand the athlete's personal battle, even today. More specifically, it brings reflections on the old concepts of self-control, the search for balance in virtues and on Heracles fighting against the snake as a symbol of the athlete's struggle against external and, above all, interior challenges. From this, examples of the new challenges of athletes in the XXI century are commented, especially those related to social media and the recent changes in the sports market. It is worth mentioning how much Katia Rubio's work represents a historical landmark, responsible for recovering the understanding of the hero's journey in order to interpret the challenges experienced in the sports career, and establishing a bridge between the past and the present. As this journey and its challenges remain, despite the contextual changes, the book's contributions remain current and relevant to understand and assist the athlete in his career and personal life. These ideas can guide and facilitate, for example, individual or collective work carried out with athletes in the field of Sport Psychology.

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