Meritocracy exposure comes fame, and with fame

Meritocracy can be linked in sport to social class in a sense that if you do well in that particular sport, one can get recognition and then more matches will be ‘reserved’ for you because of your stellar performance. Similarly, with more matches allocated for you, the exposure one gets will be more than those who only compete occasionally. With exposure comes fame, and with fame the money comes rolling in due to the amount of endorsements etc that one gets because of the outstanding performance that was being produced. Furthermore, with the large amount of fortune, one will definitely rise up the ranks of the social ladder and gain powerful connections as well.The athlete I have chosen to use as a case study is Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Born as Usain St. Leo Bolt on the 21st August 1986, he is a retired sprinter who has multiple world records broken as well. Usain Bolt is also the first person to obtain both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records. Due to his stellar performance and remarkable achievements, he is known as the ‘greatest sprinter of all time’.Usain Bolt was born in a small town in Jamaica, to Wellesley and Jennifer Bolt. He has a brother and sister and his parents owned a grocery store in their hometown. As a child, Bolt spent his time playing cricket and football with his brother in the streets. He then attended Waldensia Primary, where his sprint potential started to reveal when he took part in his parish’s annual national primary school meet. At the tender age of 12, he became the school’s fastest runner over the 100 metres distance.In 2002, the World Junior Championships was held in Kingston, Jamaica which is his homeland. This allowed him to prove that his achievements were legitimate and not just blowing his own trumpet. He then won the 200 metres race with a timing that was just 0.03s slower than his personal best timing which he set in the 1st round. He went on to win many more gold medals at the 2003 Games and even won a trophy for the ‘most outstanding athlete’ of the games.His popularity skyrocketed in his homeland due to his outstanding performance at the countless of competitions that he competed in. He also earned the title of the ‘most phenomenal sprinter ever produced by this island’ by the Public Defender, Howard Hamilton.Usain Bolt’s achievement made him the Commander of the Order of Distinction, where he was entitled to use the post nominal letters CD. At the age of 23, he was made the member of the Order of Jamaica, and at that point of time, he was the youngest member as well. In the honours system of Jamaica, this is equivalent of a knighthood in the British Honours System, which made this achievement remarkable one.Applying the functionalist theory, track and field was originally a dying sport and was not popular at that point of time and with the remarkable records and talent displayed by Usain Bolt, the exposure to the sport flourished, which gained attention around the world.From a sociologist’s point of view, I can link meritocracy in sport to social class in a way that his stellar performance in the sport enabled him to rise the ranks of the social class, from a normal citizen to a member of the Order of Jamaica. He put his talents solely to good use without the help of anyone with higher authority to help him get to what he is today. The high amount of exposure he got from his outstanding performance allowed him to gain recognition and respect from people.Reference:Usain Bolt. (n.d.). Retrieved January 3, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt