We just don’t care…
Yep, the folks in Beijing are gearing up for the 2008 Summer Olympics – an event held every four years to test the athletic mettle of representatives of numerous nations around the world!
It seems that most folks stateside have no idea the Olympics is coming right up, though.
I remember as a kid in the1970s and 1980s how much hype surrounded the Olympics. People were genuinely excited about it and I recall the Olympics being a much bigger deal. Back then, most people only had 6 or 7 tv channels and the Olympic games presented a rare opportunity to see some sporting events – save for a stray episode of Wide World of Sports.
There was also the nationalism factor, which was always a big part of the appeal. The whole ‘where athletes get together and the politics of their nations doesn’t matter’ was never really accurate in the modern era. Jesse Owens at Berlin in 1936 immediately come to mind, the 1980 US hockey team beating the Soviet hockey team is memorable and significant largely because of the politics involved, and there are other examples.
I think much of the rest of the world still looks at the events as a golden opportunity to ‘stick it’ to the Americans. And I think that the Americans are just too busy to notice or care. If Canada can beat the USA in an event, for example, that gives Canadians an opportunity to pump their fist in their air and celebrate their (momentary) superiority over their friends to the south.
This impact has to be muted by the common American reaction – inattention. No, we’re busy watching American Idol and Dancing With the Stars. We cared so little about the 2006 Winter Olympics that we sent a squad of impetuous rich kids to represent us at the events.
Then we just don’t bother to tune in. That’s just got to take at least part of the ‘shine’ off of the hard-fought-victory: the American athletes themselves are underachieving bunch, and the American public doesn’t bother enough to care.
The specialness of the Olympics is gone. When Snickers is the official candy bar of an international athletic competition, and cable companies want to charge a fortune for 100s of hours of coverage that nobody cares about anyway, you can just count me out.Â And I think most Americans simply tune out of this nonsense.
Until the International Olympic Committee is distracted long enough from taking their bribes and indulging in prostitutes to add Jai Alai and Roller Derby as Olympic sports, just count me out!