Awe I've made this same critique before lol
I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I don't think a ton of hype around an athlete is inherently detrimental to them. I think the issue comes when the athlete doesn't perform up to expectation and then it feels like all the support they've been getting from fans turns into hate, ie how Hocker was insanely hyped in 2021 while he was having a great season, then in 2022 when he had his first bad race everyone turned to trashing him. Not good at all. It's worse when someone like Drew Hunter finally runs 3:34 after years of struggling and people say it's not that good anymore.
I think as fans, the better way to act is to hype up athletes who are performing well, and to give support to those who aren't, and I think I always act in accordance with that. I've pretty much always defended TME, even when they weren't performing well. I've supported Morgan McDonald through his injury issues, Hoare through his disappointing Worlds performance, Tuohy during her injury year, and plenty more. If you look through my post history I don't think you'll find a single instance of me hating on an athlete. I voice disappointment, but generally it's like "Dang, I was really hoping X would run faster today. I hope they get through their injury issues" as opposed to "This mf is finished they need to hang up the spikes".
I agree that we shouldn't place unrealistic expectations onto athletes, but we may disagree on what realistic means. Like I think 3:53 is realistic in the sense that I think he could do it, but not in the sense that he's likely to. By virtue of being a record (20+ years old at that) it's unlikely that any athlete will break it. That's why in my post I said if he got in the right race he would. It's also why I didn't say Kessler's 1500 record, because I don't think anyone's gonna be able to get that one soon. I also think that athlete's parents and coaches have more of an obligation than I do to be more realistic because their input has a far greater impact than mine.
The pros are right in that the kids should absolutely have balanced lives outside of running, but I don't think them being hyped up changes their ability to do that. I think that having a balanced life outside of running means that even if you are hyped up, you won't tie your self worth to your PRs. Top HS athletes are in some ways in a better position to figure out that balance than collegians and pros, because at those levels you have to perform well or you lose your scholarship/sponsorship.