For about ten days now, nearly every single American sport..."/> For about ten days now, nearly every single American sport..."/>

Let’s Face it: I Hate the Olympics


For about ten days now, nearly every single American sports fan and even the casual observer has been talking about the excitement and pageantry that surrounds the Olympic games taking place in Beijing. However, for many reasons, I have been anything but enthused about the games, as I have been a lot more concerned with my favorite American sports teams. Instead of watching Michael Phelps swim for the gold medal, five hours after the event occurred, I have been watching the Angel and Dodger baseball games, attending USC football practice, and following the Brett Favre saga. Personally, all of these topics captivate my interest to a far greater extent than do the Olympic Games.

In no way shape or form am I an Olympics hater, as I genuinely appreciate the skill and dedication that it takes for these athletes to train and compete at the highest level. However, from a spectator’s vantage point, I find the Olympics to be one of the one of the most boring and overrated events on the entire planet. Here are a few reasons why:

None of us really even care about Olympic sports in the first place

Let’s face it: when was the last time you really sat down in your recliner and watched a gymnastics competition or a marathon run on television? The answer to this question probably lies somewhere between four years ago (2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece) or eight years ago (2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia). For the most part, the average American, including myself, has and never will be a fan of watching archery, badminton, fencing, field hockey, synchronized swimming, table tennis, or any other random Olympic sport I can think of. Therefore, there is this ridiculous notion that suggests that we are all suppose to become fans of these sports every four years simply because the athletes are representing their native countries.

Somehow, I fail to understand why a cyclist, who happens to be wearing a red, black, and gold, German uniform, suddenly makes cycling an interesting and compelling sport to watch on television. Cycling and many other remote Olympic sports get horrific television ratings in the United States on a annual basis, which clearly illustrating how low their popularity is among average Americans. Therefore, if we don’t care about cycling during 2005, 2006, and 2007, than why are we suddenly suppose to be cycling enthusiasts for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. I am not a fan of these tremendously boring Olympic sports in the first place so I am not going to pretend that I care about them once every four years.

Nationalism Doesn’t Really Exist

One of the major selling point for NBC and the other major networks is this prevailing idea that the Olympics are suppose to embody nationalistic pride. Sorry, but the idea of nationalism has always been hyped by the major networks in order to spike ratings. Olympians have been training nonstop since they were six years old simply because they aspire to one day win a Gold Medal. The sixteen year old gymnast Shawn Johnson of Iowa trained daily to compete in the Olympics and win a gold medal, not to serve the United State of America. People who serve the United States are the troops fighting overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hostile nations. They are the ones who embody the nationalistic spirit, as they continue to sacrifice their lives to protect us Americans.

On the other hand, Olympians are simply athletes who aspire to compete on one of the world’s largest stages and meet their individual goals. In search of reaching these goals, it is now common for athletes to represent countries in which they have little to no affiliation with. American athletes such as Chris Kaman (born in Michigan) and Becky Hammon (born in South Dakota), were unable to make the United States basketball teams, and as a result, chased their dreams of winning a gold medal with Germany and Russia respectively. None of these athletes are remotely concerned with the nationalism aspect of the Olympics and neither should you.

No Rivalries

There was a point in time where nationalism was an underlying theme during the Olympic Games. When the American hockey team faced off against the big, bad communists from the Soviet Union, it meant more than the standard hockey game. It was a battle of ideologies, Capitalism versus Communism, as both countries sought to gain a leg up on one another through sports. However, with the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, there are currently no major rivalries between the United States and the other world powers. While we may not be allies with every single country competing in the games, there is no real hatred that exists between the United States or any other nation. As a result of the lack of rivalries, the games lose their competitive feel that once existed between the democratic nations of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, and the communist countries of the Soviet Union and Cuba.

It’s taped delayed

As Michael Phelps was competing for his eight gold medal last Saturday, I got a text from a friend of mine who told me that Phelps indeed was successful in his quest to win that medal. Make no mistake about it, I was not happy to learn the results of the race before I even had a chance to watch it. That being said, I could have cut myself off from all technology (computer, cell phone, television, radio, etc.), but I have made it clear that I do not want to change my lifestyle in order to watch taped-delayed Olympic events. I do not want to turn the radio off in my car or leave my cell phone in my desk just so I can avoid learning the results of these various events. Watching a taped delayed event is like watching a murder mystery in which you already know what will happen next. It takes all of the fun out of watching a sporting event.

To make matters worse, NBC has been tape-delaying events with the words “LIVE” written across the upper right portion of the screen. It’s bad enough to be tape-delaying events, but to be lying about makes it even more pathetic. Thanks NBC.

Michael Phelps is the new Brett Favre

While Michael Phelps’ performances have dominated television coverage, the Internet, and newspapers in the United States, there remain other prominent storylines as well. However, American media outlets have decided to one up ESPN’s coverage of the Brett Favre saga by focusing exclusively on Phelps. While Phelps won his eight gold medal on Saturday night, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt broke the world record in the Olympics’ glamour event, the 100m dash, in 9.69 seconds. Despite his electrifying performance, NBC was still following Phelps’s 12,000 calorie diet instead of paying attention to Bolt. One guy breaks a world record, and they’re talking about what one guy eats. Yes, it’s official: Michael Phelps is the new Brett Favre.