Man, I’m not going to poop on the Olympics. I mean, as an American, especially one without TV, its not like I even pay attention. But someone on the radio recently explained something that has always subconsciously bugged me about the Winter Olympics.
He said that the Summer Games are the real Olympics, because sports like running are something that people throughout the world can compete in. The Winter Olympics self-select for those who have access to Winter, or, more likely, those who have access to copius amounts of air conditioning. I mean, Michelle Kwan, who thoroughly rocks . . . she’s from L.A. She lives in a desert! And, her parents would drive her, in a car, which most people don’t have, to an ice rink, which most people don’t have, and she competes in the “sport” of ice skating, which, however gratifying to watch, is more of an “artistic physical endeavor” than a “sport” . . .
And ice skating is more democratic than stuff like skiing, which is an activity pretty much reserved for the upper middle class of developed Northern countries. I . . . well, I have just enough flatlander proleteriat pinko in me that I have always avoided opportunities to finally go skiing. Not like I’m about to storm the ski slopes and burn down the cabins or whatever, it is just that the whole thing is ever so slightly too bourgeois for my blood. (And I am an upper-income culture snob who doesn’t own a TV.)
. . . the summer Olympics, these are the ones where the barefoot Africans show up from impoverished countries you have never heard of to take home Gold Medals, because however poor their backgrounds, there is no denying that they can run fast. We have high-precision clocks that say so.
All the same, I’ll give the Winter Olympics its due . . . a lot of people from a lot of countries get together to compete, in the Olympic spirit. And since they staggered the Winter games into the years between the summer games, it is kind of a nice “side show” to tide the fans over ’til the next every-fourth-year event.