Watching the Olympic Games used to be like watching The Godfather, or Citizen Kane. You knew you were watching something spectacular, and you didn’t want the show to end. I remember anticipating the eve of the games; the complexities and rivalries between cultures, seeing the top athletes around the world give it their all, the tradition of the games, and then the ensuring political nature of them.
There are a few reasons the ensuing Winter Olympics will not be met with the same excitement in as in years past, but still eagerly anticipated. Our athletes represent ideals, not just skill and prowess. In years past the United States competing against the Soviets got my full attention. Every four years; it seemed like a battle of good vs. evil, white cowboy hats and black cowboy’s hats every four years. Beating the Soviets was like winning a battle in the Cold War. It was more than just the games, and I loved every second of it.
The Olympics really aren’t truly international games anymore, for the Summer Olympics so many athletes live and train in the United States, yet they still play for their country? Take advantage of our county, facilities, and coaches even, but then your medals go elsewhere? We are such a globalize society now, I understand, but I think the old mystique was what made the Olympics great. When I was younger, I knew our athletes trained in our country and the soviets trained in theirs, it seemed like a more even playing field at least. That nationalistic luster has had its day, and it’s what made the Olympics great.
The Internet has hurt my viewer ship a little as well. Many of the events you wanted to watch the last ten years, you already heard about while you were getting a cup of coffee at the office, or out to lunch. Before the Internet, the stations could actually play the delayed game as if it was live. Now NBC has commercials for the Today Show pretty much telling you who won the event you’re watching. The event you turned your cell phone off and didn’t check the Internet all day for. Famously Al Michaels said “You might want to watch this one” before the famous “Miracle on Ice” game in 1980.
New revelations about athletes’ personal lives and steroids have certainly hurt the integrity and viewer ship no question. There were things about athletes we didn’t used to know, and now with Twitter we know everything twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.