Today, it’s 25 years since Jan Ulrich won the Tour de France. An unprecedented success was followed by an unprecedented collapse in the public eye: allegations of doping, alcohol problems and an outbreak of violence. Perhaps not without reason one can say: a fallen hero. This is a genre that comes up again and again, sometimes real, sometimes imaginary.
An innocent boy turns evil
“I’m your father, Luke!” Darth Vader – He wasn’t always the villain. His real name is Anakin Skywalker. A young boy from the planet Tatooine, discovered and trained by the noble Jedi Knights, becomes a man of honor. In the end, however, he allows himself to be seduced by the dark side of power, making his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi despondent: “I was the chosen one.” Star Wars creator George Lucas once said that the first six films in the saga would be originally translated as “The Tragedy of Darth Vader.”
Shakespeare Hamlet is a fallen hero
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is also a good example of a fallen hero – he really wants to avenge his father’s murder. To do this, he wants to pretend that he has gone crazy. But the plan went unchanged. In his passion, the chancellor stabbed Polonius. Hamlet’s lover Ophelia is so upset that she seems to be taking her own life. “To be or not to be” – Hamlet continues to argue with himself. Several of his monologues suggest that at some point Hamlet will not only play crazy, but really lose his mind. In the end he himself died a prince who no longer had anything royal. As a fallen hero, he is also tragic.
There are also fallen heroines
By the way, fallen heroes do not necessarily have to be male. When entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes launched her company, Theranos, in 2003, it caused quite a stir. It promises blood tests that you hardly have to draw blood. Investors are giving it billions for it. She graced the cover of nearly every major magazine and became a Silicon Valley girl. But their tests are a full quark. She was found guilty of fraud. Sentence will be announced in the fall: up to 20 years in prison.
A manhunt scene straight from the movie: Footballer OJ Simpson
“This is AC I have OJ in the car”: OJ on the run in the car These photos went viral around the world in 1994. OJ Simpson is one of the biggest stars of American football, comparable to Lothar Matthews in football. Simpson is accused of killing his wife and her lover. It’s an amazing crash. With endorsement deals, OJ Simpson is one of the first athletes to have a massive career off the field. His trial is a media scene. His attorney said at the time, if the glove found at the crime scene did not fit OJ, the jury should acquit him. The glove does not fit, that means acquittal. Years later, the footballer went to prison for theft.
The world of music witnessed the fall of many heroes
The music world has also seen some heroes fall as part of the #metoo movement. Michael Jackson’s reputation was badly damaged, as was Placido Domingo. Singer R Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Among other things, due to sexual exploitation, including minors. By the mid-1990s, R. Kelly was one of the biggest names in show business. Through a successful solo career and as a songwriter for others, he even got to sing at Whitney Houston’s funeral.
Documentary and podcast about Jan Ulrich
Whether fictional or real, in movies, music or literature – there are fallen heroes in practically every field imaginable. Kind as old as humanity. Even Satan himself is a fallen hero. Whether you call him Satan or Lucifer – he is a fallen angel. Perhaps humanity should reconsider placing individuals on a pedestal. There’s more about fallen hero Jan Ullrich in ARD Audiothek’s “Jan Ullrich – Temporary Hero” podcast, or at Documentary series “Being Jan Ullrich” at ARD Media Library.