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Get Excited for the Vancouver Olympics

February 5, 2010

The Olympics are right around the corner, and if I wasn’t a sports nut I don’t know that I would even realize it. That may be because I don’t watch much on NBC, and what I do watch I record and fast forward through the commercials, but it surprises me there isn’t more talk about it.

The Olympics used to be something that brought the whole country together. I remember as a kid how everyone talked about what was going on, and tv and newspapers were full of articles about what was going on. So why did this all stop?

I think the single biggest reason is that it is no longer an amateur event. The Olympics are full of professional athletes making tons of money and having huge endorsements. It isn’t really even about the sports for many people.

Sure there are some people that get genuinely choked up about representing their country, but the vast majority see this as another way to catapult themselves into the money ranks. No offense to Shaun White, he seems like a good guy, but I had never heard his name until he won gold at the Olympics, and now he is a household name that is making a killing.

The Olympics used to be about a lot more than money.

Just last week my wife and I watched Miracle about the 1980 Olympic team that overcame huge opstacles to beat the most dominant hockey team this world may ever see, the USSR. It is a beautiful movie that shows everything that used to be right about the Olympics.

People who couldn’t care less about hockey tuned in for that game because it was about more than just sport. It was about American Pride! That is something that many people have lost because just like all of the other professional sports it has become about money, and not pride.

When did a gold medal stop being enough of a reward?

I still love watching the Olympics because I love all sports, but even I have largely lost interest since the pros joined the competition. I would really love to see the IOC take a bold step and move back to an amateur competition, but I know that will never happen, because just like everyone else they are in it for the money, not the “joy of victory, and the agony of defeat”.

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