Thoughts on Sports

Since I was a child, the Olympics - Summer and Winter Games alike - have been a polarizing topic in my family. My father likes watching some of the events, my mother marginally enjoys watching others, and I am indifferent.

I thought this was just in my home, but I have quickly learned that this is not the case. Among friends, colleagues, and classmates, it is split down the middle how much one cares about the Olympics. Gender influences only what events are cared about the most: hockey v. ice skating, gymnastics v. long jump.

Today, in many ways it seems that the Olympics and Global competitions in general (World Cup) have lost a lot of their luster. Don't get me wrong, millions tune in to the Olympics and the World Cup, but its just a big hullabaloo for television to make room for every 2 years. They have grown so large that it costs the hosting nation billions of dollars just to run them. 

During the Cold War years and to some extent these Winter Games in Russia carry some political tension clout. I mean who really thinks the Cold War is over? But other than when these tensions flesh themselves out on the ice rink or track, the Olympics are rather bland. 

As a result, the commentary leans towards human interest story after human interest story to try and keep the audience captivated. We sure don't understand technical luge techniques; hell, the commentators probably don't either. What does Bob Costas know about luge? Maybe he does know something, who knows. 

They've become so bloated - as a culture, perhaps the American influence on global affairs here - that they are diluted.

Bigger is better right? I'm sure we can all agree about that truism. NOT. Try the government, your car, your dog (especially if you have a small apartment).

 Let's go back to Summer Olympic Games V, hosted by Sweden in 1912. There were 14 Sports and 102 Events.

Now, 100 years and 25 Summer Games later, there were 26 Sports and 302 Events in London. Sports included 4 different kinds of hand-to-hand combat and 4 different kinds of cycling.

Maybe it's time we trimmed down the Games a bit, just for its health. Make it more focused. I'll use a comparison. The Super Bowl and the NFL has developed into such a huge event and sport in the United States not just because it is exciting, but because there are only 16 games for each team in the regular season, and the Championship round is only 1 game.

MLB, NHL, NBA all suffer due to the fact that they 1) have dozens of games each season for each team, and 2) the championship round is a best of seven. There isn't one night where everything is decided, it's spread out over 2 weeks. I can pop in for Game 1 and come back for Game 4, which might decide it all. 

The Olympics, spread out over 2 weeks and featuring 10,000+ athletes, could focus on a dozen sports and attract more attention.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm crazy? I already know that, but I want to hear whether you love or hate the Olympics.  


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