The sport is leaving the dusty, single-track margins of our media lathered world. At least where I'm from and go on a occasion, the discussion is constant, it's tethers reaching further and further socially in a world becoming defined by networks and clicking links.
Having said that, what happens in these big races becomes part of bigger discussions. With the aforementioned omnipresence of social media, sharing, linking, etc., the lives leading up to these big races have become fodder for the fan and for the fans' discussions. Race winnings are and/or will increase, sponsorships will likewise increase in volume and size all because of this rise in popularity, due in part to these discussions. In the context of this sport becoming more main stream than it ever has been, those discussions I mentioned, that will begin to flourish (that already have), will include a critique of athletic performance.
Is my analysis overbearing? Does it seem like my take on one runner is too intimate? Perhaps the points of my analysis give some people a sense that I care too much. Those who read only that miss my main claim: The guy's DNF was totally predictable (or the accompanying claim that he is uber talented). The DNF was waving it's flabby arms on a punctured Goodyear blimp float on fire rolling down 5th Avenue in parade procession.
Didn't you see it? Aren't you paying attention?
Are we critiquing the mid-packer? No. We're looking at the elite, for obvious reasons (modeling, professionalism, culture of expectations, hell: gambling!). With that, the analysis is warranted. These athletes represent a lot more than brothers and sisters in sneakers.
Granted, I could leave a benign, throw-away comment that simply adds to the long yawn of indifference, say something like: "Oh well, better luck next time." "Don't worry about it, dude, you'll come back stronger than ever."
In the end, this is a study of character. The more attention a sport gets, the more critique and analysis that comes its way towards the entire affair (events, people, equipment, etc). People who love the sport, and who appreciate the variety of elements that coexist along with the people and stories that dramatize the narrative like to share that appreciation.
That's how people like Michael Jordan and Matt Carpenter have become history, legend, and myth (Tolkien). Their ethos, their respective sport's ethos, is partly product of the discourse.