I know quite a few people who don’t watch the Olympics anymore. Many of them site the obvious corruption of the IOC as the reason why. Some people just don’t like winter sports. Some people just don’t watch sports in general. And I’m not here to debunk any of that, but rather to explain why I’ve been watching them the last couple weeks in spite of their obvious warts.
First of all, I really love watching figure skating. There is something about it that just fascinates me and has since I was a little girl. It’s like watching the Rose Parade- just something I’ve done since childhood and it just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (the Russian women’s controversy aside).
Second, it’s something different. In a normal week I would not even consider watching skiing, snowboarding, or curling. But once every four years it’s fun to watch something unusual.
Third, and this is new for these 2020 games, there have some really heartwarming moments that give me hope for humanity. Especially in the newer sports, I saw competitors from wildly different countries genuinely cheer for each other and truly want EVERYONE to do their best. It wasn’t us against them. It was “let’s all go out there and show ’em what we’ve got”. The genuine sense of community is what the Olympics are supposed to be all about, and it was lovely to see that start to show up again.
Lastly, and this was a new one for me too, is just to see the joy in so many of the competitors’ faces when they perform to their best. 90% of the competitors have no shot at winning a medal. I used to pity those folks, but now I get it. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true. You are competing first and foremost against yourself. If you get your longest jump, your highest score, your fastest time at the Olympics that’s a big deal and something to be cherished forever. And we get to share those moments with these folks.
By the time you read this these Olympics will be over. But there’s another one coming around in a couple years. No snow and ice, but gymnastics, volleyball, and lots of other interesting events are on the docket, so you might want to consider checking them out. You might be surprised what you discover.