South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius - called the Blade Runner because of the high-tech prosthetic legs he used to compete in the 2012 London Olympics - is the latest icon to fall from grace.
Pistorius has been charged with the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend, South African model and law school graduate Reeva Steenkamp.
Compared to the flagrant infidelities of golfer Tiger Woods, the doping scandal surrounding cyclist Lance Armstrong, actor Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic tirade, figure skater Tonya Harding hiring a thug to break the leg of rival Nancy Kerrigan or even Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's illegal dogfighting ring, Pistorius' alleged crime is brutal and disturbing.
If convicted - and, unless he is the victim of some complex frame job, he will be - Pistorius will join the ranks of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky who used his position to molest children; wrestler Chris Benoit who murdered his wife and son before killing himself; Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who murdered his girlfriend and committed suicide; and some whose alleged crimes were never proven in court like football player and actor O.J. Simpson, pop star Michael Jackson and basketball player Kobe Bryant.
The weekly drunken antics, infidelities and misdemeanors of professional athletes, movie stars and pop musicians fill tabloid pages and keep entertainment shows in business - and prove that buckets of money, talent, good looks, success and fame does not necessarily make someone a happy, well-adjusted human being.
In fact often those who achieve meteoric success do so because they are highly-driven, ambitious, unwilling to accept second place, extremely competitive, attention seeking and willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to win.
While those traits can make people successful, it often comes with a host of negative traits like arrogance, narcissism, a sense of entitlement, impatience, lack of responsibility, sense of invincibility, lack of empathy and fragile egos fueled by hidden insecurities.
Would Armstrong still have been a great cyclist without the steroids? Probably, but he might not have been the best cyclist and that was something he couldn't live with - something he was willing to cheat and lie about to avoid.
Unfortunately it seems to be human nature to put such people on a pedestal - venerate them with idol-like worship - and then take schadenfreude when they fall.
It was true of ancient Greek Olympians and Roman gladiators and is true today about rappers, football players and movie stars and will likely be true a thousand years from now.
But try to remember that being able to crank out vapid pop music, pedal a bike, look cute in a recycled Hollywood rom-com, throw a football or run fast - even without legs - doesn't make someone a hero.
The real heroes haven't gone anywhere.
They continue to work quietly behind the scenes every day doing things that actually matter. Nobody throws red carpet awards galas for them, pays them millions for celebrity endorsements or dedicates fan websites to them.
They're serving soup to the homeless down at St. Vincent de Paul, being a Big Brother or Big Sister to a kid who needs a friend, raising money to support important community services, building their community and being positive role models.
So if the latest celebrity scandal is getting you down and you need to restore your faith in humanity, seek out one of those everyday heroes and give them a much-deserved pat on the back. Or better yet offer to give them a hand. They can always use the help.