Thursday, February 18, 2010

With Regard to the Olympics

There is a tendency for those who denigrate the Olympics to talk about how the athletes are unknown, so why should they care?

Who do they know?  Apolo Ohno.  Shaun White.  Lindsey Jacobellis.  Lindsey Vonn.  Johnny Weir.

Why do they know those names?  They're familiar from past Olympics.

Fine.  No reason to know athletes you've never seen compete yet, but that shouldn't stop a fan of a sport from watching.  A fan of a sport cares because of her or his love for that sport, especially when performed at a high level.  The Olympics doesn't showcase stars as much as it creates stars.

There also seems a feeling that an Olympics fan is different from an NFL fan, who is different from an NBA fan, who is different from a NASCAR fan.

I say, show a fan, a sports fan, a true competitive moment at its most climactic moment, at its pinnacle, and that sports fan will take five minutes and watch.

It's the reason sports fans all pay attention to the Kentucky Derby, regardless of whether they care a thing about horseracing for the rest of the year.  It's about sport at its most meaningful and dramatic.

That's compelling television.

So is a short track speedskating final.

Trust me, if it's good, I'll learn the names I need to know.

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