Wednesday, July 06, 2005

All Future Olympics Hosts Hope For Villains

London wins the bid for the 2012 Olympics...the question is, why is anyone happy that they got it, and why would anyone be sad that they lost it?

Do we remember last year's summer games? Of course you don't. They were in Greece, and they were the lowest-rated, lowest-attended Olympics ever. There just aren't any villains anymore in sports, just like the villains of the 80s megahit movies have vanished.

There is no longer any pride in the USA or any other country in beating Russia anymore. There are no superpowers who politically oppose each other with the flavor that those two did for years and made the Olympics an Us vs. Them spectacle. You wanted the USA to score tons of medals over those "evil" Russians.

Now, we're all friends, and even if you could possibly come up with a rivalry, it's not much of one. Like, is anybody going to be overjoyed if we beat Iran in the discus? How about if we beat North Korea in the long jump? Then, everyone's favorite country to hate...France. The US and Lance Armstrong have whipped France so bad in the Tour de France, it's almost embarassing when they lose sports in the Olympics, too.

Let's not forget doping, either. We can't ever seem to follow a world-class athlete anymore without fears that they take drugs. Or see some other country's athlete and think the same thing.

I don't know...maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Olympics was just a disaster in Greece, and it will be worthwhile in other places...but hasn't the interest in the Olympics waned, at least in this country, since 1984?


At 7/06/2005 05:47:00 PM, Blogger MaraJade said...

I know I used to love watching them with my dad when I was little. I haven't watched olympics in. . .I can't remember how long.

Nothing's going to be as magical as "Miracle", but it's certainly not interesting enough for me to bother with anymore.

But then, I've never been a sports person. Ice Hockey is my thing and that's basically it. So I don't know.

At 7/06/2005 07:13:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Hey, an ice hockey fan! I'm sure we'll be talking about them if they ever come back.

My take on the Olympics is this. You're right about the lack of a good rivalry. Without it it becomes easier to cheer for other teams, or even against Americans like the Men's Basketball team. And, most of the sports that used to be rare to see can now be seen on a number of cable stations. There are a number of reasons, and these are just a few.

But I think the worst culprit is that the network's coverage of every Olympic event is horrible, horrible. I used to love the Games and followed it every day, enjoying the variety of events and the inherent tension and drama of sports. Now, they don't show most of the events live, and have introductions that are longer than the event itself.

When you start to cater to a different market than your core market, that of the true sports fan, you erode your most important fanbase. That's suicide in the long run, and the recent network ratings are a sign of that. The old network coverage was magical, and you got a great taste of everything. The new coverage is a "Days of Our Lives" special episode about sports.


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