Friday, August 22, 2008

Why Americans Love the Olympics

I, like a lot of other Americans, have been watching the Olympics. I read in the paper that the top five television programs last week were all Olympics. We love Michael Phelps and Beach Volleyball. Although there is no Curling in the summer games, there is much to cheer for. There is a boat load of good stuff- and that is why we love the Olympics.
  • We love the Olympics because the Chinese have produced a great television experience for us. Never mind the controversies about children too homely to sing on tv, or computer enhanced fireworks. We do not really care how old those gymnasts are. The Chinese have "wowed" us.
  • We love the Olympics because we have short attention spans. We do not have time to sit through an entire football match (that is a soccer game here in the USA), but we can get very excited about watching several swim races, track events, diving, volleyball and highlights from several other sports all in the same evening.
  • We love the Olympics because we are patriots. We have never heard of some of the sports and most of the athletes, but if it says USA on the jersey we can cheer like crazy. When Americans win, we all win. When Americans lose, we are all upset.
  • We love the Olympics because of the "ego-less" competition. We are used to sports figures who feel privileged and better than everyone else. Our professional sports culture has given us a jaded view of what athletes can be like. In the Olympics we find men and women who compete to be the best, not to make the most money, or to get a rap recording contract.
  • We love the Olympics because of the "level" playing field. I do not believe that the Olympics are fair. The largest, wealthiest countries always seem to win the most medals. The USA and China, Australia and Russia are dominating these games. But runners from poor Caribbean or African countries remind us that anyone can compete. Anyone can win.

There are only a few days of Olympics left, but I plan to enjoy them immensely. And now you know why.

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