Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Fevah!

The Olympics is now rivaling Twitter for the biggest time-killer in my day. It's amazing how pulled in you can get watching sports you have no real interest in like field hockey, weightlifting, equestrian sports, handball, and soccer. I think the announcers, while inane at times, do an excellent job giving the viewers the backstory on athletes so you feel pulled into the story of their "journey to the gold".

These stories are probably half truth, half embellishment but even knowing that doesn't make them any less compelling to me. Fables, legends, and myths have power even though we know they never actually happened. A good story beats an articulate analysis every day of the week in terms of holding people's interest.

I have never cared how many medals the U.S. wins, in fact, I always root for the lower profile nations to get their due since a smaller country winning an award always means so much more for their sense of identity and national pride than adding another award to the U.S. medal pile. They have fewer high quality training facilities & coaches and you can forget about corporate sponsorship. So, being the best in spite of the lack of support makes their accomplishment even greater.

I'm an avid Olympics watcher but a casual sports fan so I won't blog a lot about the athletic aspect of the games. But the social impact of international sports competition, corporate sponsorship, and the impact of live, online broadcasting of Olympic events are all fair game!