Ryan Palko ‘14
Take a wild guess what ESPN was covering at 9:30 on Wednesday February 12th. It wasn’t the Olympics, that’s for sure. Instead it was a college basketball game between Syracuse and Pittsburgh. It is sad how uninterested ages 14 to 18 are in the Winter Olympics. I can only vouch for those related in age with me, but the viewership seems lower than normal. Is it Sochi Russia and Putin that is stopping us from watching the wintery events? I think not. I think that the reason many people, especially those in the age range of 14 to 18, do not watch the games is because they cannot connect with the gams. These sports that are played at the Winter Olympics are quite obscure to the average 16 year old. Who knows what curling is all about? I think that the average American child does not know even a smidgeon about the sport of curling. Thus, this leads me to my point. If the viewer’s cannot connect with the sports presented, why would they watch them? American children understand the sports of football, baseball, soccer, swimming and track to name a few. But what is really the Nordic combine all about? This may seem like American ignorance in the world, but I believe that it is cultural. Americans merely do not emphasize these winter sports enough in our culture. The mainstream sports as listed above garner most of our attention, not the Nordic combine. Look at the Summer Olympics instead of the winter games. I watch these the summer games intensively because I understand the sports. I love to see American track runners and swimmers take home gold medals. Thus, I am interested because I am familiar with these sports. America as a country is not as cold as those of Finland, Sweden etc. Surprise who is leading the world in medals currently? Those countries. They put a greater importance on the winter sports than Americans.
The Winter Olympics are not watched frequently, but should be. These games only come every four years. We should have the nationalistic impulse to cheer for our country and root on the athletes even if we do not know the sport. Yet, we Americans will watch the Cavaliers over the Olympics on any given day. Is it routine? Is it that we are ignorant? These are all viable claims, but I think the problem goes deeper. Those in high school are immersed in a now generation. We want everything now. All we care about is getting information… now. We do not care to sit down and watch the TV to see who wins in Sochi because all we have to do is go onto Yahoo’s homepage and see the medal counts. We are nationalistic but too lazy to actually sit and root for our country.
Do I want America to win the Olympics? YES! But it is a fact that the Winter Olympics in America are sadly skimmed over. This is wrong and we should give those athletes the respect they deserve. They are representing this great country to the rest of the world. We need to support their efforts even if we do not know the sport. They are the best athletes in the world. It is wrong that we are not in tune with these games and would rather watch Modern Family, but this is reality. We can only make a movement to change it.
Ryan Palko ‘14