I have to admit, I love the Olympics. The raw competition of athletes around the world who truly appreciate the sports they play, and dedicate their lives to the one moment, or at best few moments, they are given to shine. There’s just something great about seeing elite athletes in obscure sports step up to another level, and seeing unexpected athletes, like the cross-country skier from Brazil where they don’t really have winter, giving their all (and the crowd and fellow competitors cheering them for it).
There is an air of respect and honor around the Olympic games that still makes it special. It always feels like the world puts aside their differences and turns their attention to friendly competition.
Probably the most amazing thing so far, and highly under-reported, has been the success of Johnny Spillane and the US men’s Nordic combined team. Spillane not only won a silver medal in an event where the US had never medaled (leaving only biathalon where the US continues to struggle), but the team put 3 competitors in the top 6! That’s quite an accomplishment in a sport where our country has struggled for so long.
So, only a few days in, I’m really enjoying it (except for the extensive figure skating coverage, which I could go without), though I am pacing myself. After all, NBC likes to add in too many “human interest stories” and “other crap” (like the piece on polar bears who live on the other side of the country) that I just don’t care about. Thankfully, there’s plenty of other coverage on their family of networks to keep me interested most of the (and if not, I can go online, or at least find an NCIS rerun). Thankfully, they mix in a fair amount of Al Michaels trying to figure out why he’s at the Olympics after a 30+ year hiatus, which has a fairly high “unintentional humor” value.
And today’s when the real fun kicks off! With curling and men’s hockey getting under way, it’s two of the bigger drawing sports that will carry excitement throughout the next few weeks!
Not that I won’t happily sit and watch hours of cross-country skiing anyway…they’re still amazing athletes who deserve the attention and recognition after their years of sacrifice.