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Are the Winter Olympics Even Relevant?

I will be the first to admit that I do enjoy the international hockey tournament.  It is a very interesting dynamic to watch NHL teammates playing against each other as they represent their own countries.  The women’s hockey tournament is also interesting if no other reason than it is hockey, and hockey is a great sport.

Even given all of that, are the Winter Olympics overall irrelevant?  Can anyone– without going on the internet to look up the rules– explain to me what Curling is and how it is scored?  One doesn’t even need to be athletic to contend for an Olympic medal in this “sport.”  Having Curling in the Winter Olympics is like deciding to have Darts in the Summer Olympics.

I will agree that it does take athleticism and agility to compete in figure skating, but it just doesn’t provide me any excitement.  Figure skating is as boring as the Floor Exercise in Gymnastics– a technical, boring form of dancing.

The worst part of the Winter Games is that most of the events consist of a competitor is either skiing, skating, or snowboarding on their own and not at the same time as the competitors of the event.  In the Summer Games, we at least have wrestling, boxing, martial arts that give us two athletes going against each other.  Hockey is the only true team sport that exists in the Winter Games.  The Summer Olympics has basketball, soccer, volleyball– various styles of it– and once had baseball and softball as well.

While adding the extreme sports have added the interest of the games, it still seems that the relevance of the Winter Olympics is almost non-existent.  Even the overall coverage of the Games in the United States seems to add to the lack of relevance.

I understand providing the events on “tape delay” due to the immense difference in time zones with Sochi, Russia– host of this year’s Olympiad.  But all these same events should also be broadcast live as they are happening.  It makes it a lot less likely for people to tune into the primetime coverage of the Olympic Games when the vast majority of us already know the results of these events before the telecast shows us what is the equivalent of watching the highlights.

It might have made sense to show events on a delay about 20 years ago, but in this age of being able to know the results of events as soon as they take place we should be able to watch coverage of these events as they are happening.  The only reason the networks covering the Olympics don’t go live with these events, is they don’t want to give up their late night shows for the three weeks or so that the Games take place.  It is a pretty ridiculous excuse for not providing live coverage, but it adds another sign that the Winter Olympics (and maybe the Olympics themselves) have lost any real relevance in the world– especially in the United States.

The Olympic Games are supposed to be all about the best amateur athletes competing while representing their respective nations.  It just seems to me that the most popular events in both games are those with professional players competing in their respective sports (i.e. basketball and hockey).  Even the other events have the top competitors making endorsement money, eliminating amateurism all together.

So are the Winter Olympics relevant ever?  In my opinion, they are not relevant anymore.  With that being said, go Team USA!!! Win Olympic gold!!

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