The pressure of a global audience can often bring out the best or worst in people.
Considering the impending descent of thousands of Olympic athletes onto Paperstone’s home city of London, many of these confident, muscled-bound, toned and (in some cases) bronzed individuals will fight, strive, struggle and conquer on the global stage to demonstrate the peaks of mental and physical human ability.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes is no stranger to endurance, physical fitness and discipline being an ex-Eton, ex-army chap with a fancy name who has a number of exploratory gongs under his belt. Aside from being defined as the greatest living explorer in the Guinness Book of Records, he scaled Mount Everest at the age of 65. At 65 I’ll count myself lucky if I’m able to get to the bathroom unassisted.
Recent events however have clouded this emphatic picture of the man they call "Ran" to paint a much sadder portrait. He invited a certain Oxford (of course) graduate, Miss Harrison on an expedition to Ecuador, South America in 2004 as a "thanks" for her contribution to his biography of "Scott of Antarctica". He then proceeded to ignore proper health and safety common sense by convincing her to firstly jump into the crevasse of a glacier and then deliberately fall whilst climbing in order to secure some sexy footage for us sofa bound, TV remote-hogging lumps back home. Clearly Oxford degrees aren’t what they used to be, but perhaps I’m dwelling on the power of hindsight in thinking that this was not a good idea. It isn’t clear whether First Aid was required at the scene, but suffice to say her longer term neck and head injuries have caused Miss Harrison to take the matter to court to seek compensation.
For Fiennes, perhaps the pressure of being so successful, of achieving so much in his life has led him to push the boundaries of what people can expect of him beyond reasonable comprehension. We’ve seen professional footballers, such as Paul Gascoigne struggle and fall publicly from his national lager-swilling treasure pedestal. Fiennes’ case merely highlights that this all too characteristic demise of successful individuals is clearly not limited to this country’s working classes.
We wish Miss Harrison well, and also for Mr. Fiennes to accept that perhaps his monumental achievements to date warrant that he need not be slave to the whims of the television generation.
Mount Everest. Conquered at 65 by Mr. Fiennes