I like the Olympics. A LOT! I even collect Olympic city pins….I have about 100. I visited Lausanne once just to go to the Olympic museum. Like I said, I like the Olympics. They give people who may participate in more “unpopular” sports a chance to shine and show their stuff. These people get to be recognized for their skill, talent and hard-work. It’s a great thing, and I do get excited every 2 years to watch another Olympics. I was VERY excited this year that the opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics was on my birthday. AWESOME!
That being said, I don’t usually like Olympics fans. These are what I call “fair-weather fans.” They’re the people who watch the Olympics and claim to know all about a sport (let’s say luge), and all the participants and the favored countries to win, but when the Olympics are over, they couldn’t care any less about the sport. This propels athletes like Apollo Ono or Michael Phelps into the spotlight for a short 2-3 weeks every 4 years. Then they fall back into obscurity because their sports don’t get enough airplay on television and people don’t follow them. Very rarely do I sit home on a Saturday afternoon and catch the speedskating on television, or watch Greco-Roman wrestling on a Thursday night. This happens because they’re not very popular sports, and cities like New York, Chicago, Madrid, London and Shanghai do not have speedskating teams that we can support.
You may say “but many Olympic sports are not team sports, so there isn’t really a market for people to support them!” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Millions of people support sports like tennis, boxing and golf, where individuals compete against individuals (just like the Olympics). Even competitive eating gets more regular fans than Olympic games. Let’s face it….the world is enamored with sports like track and field, curling, beach volleyball, speedskating, gymnastics, snow boarding, skeet shooting and bobsled only once every 4 years. When the Olympics are finished….so is the obsession. I like the Olympics because it gives a showcase to these sports that have millions of participants but very little recognition, but that’s also the issue I have, because the fans are “come and go” fans.
The “fair-weather fans” phenomenon is not only limited to the Olympics. More people watch the Superbowl than watch American football each week. More people watch soccer games during the World Cup than do regularly, each week. The Americans claim to love soccer during the World Cup, but they really don’t. The rest of the world….yes! Things like MLB’s World Series, the Euro Cup, the Tour de France, the Americas Cup and NCAA’s March Madness draw millions more fans than the sports do on a regular basis.
These people get swept up in the hype and claim to love these sports, yet don’t mention them again until the next big tournament. These people annoy me because they spout their mouths off about something like ice dancing like they are the number one authority on the sport. They use words like “triple lutz,” “closed pike position” and “butterfly stroke” as if they know what they’re talking about. Mention these words 2 months later and they give you confused glances and annoyed faces. These are the people that annoy me!