I’m as patriotic as the next guy…probably a little more so. But for some reason, I’m just not able to get into the Olympics anymore. Oh, I know, it’s that quadrennial event that captures the world for two or three weeks…but lately it’s seemed a lot longer than that, with very little fluff. I think the idea of the Olympics may have been a great idea over 100 years ago when it started. I also think the world is losing its “Olympic fever”.
The ratings on NBC for the opening weekend, including the Opening Ceremonies were the worst they’ve been in decades. This isn’t good news for NBC, since they’re the only ones really interested in investing the millions of dollars necessary to get the rights to broadcast the Olympics in this country. But for too long, it’s been tape-delays and lousy announcers that weren’t as well versed in their sport as we Americans are used to. And with all the anti-Rio hype that’s been going on, with medical waste washing up on the beaches, crime, pollution, and corruption, as well as the fact the Brazilians were having a hell of a time with security, not to mention the Zika virus, there aren’t a lot of folks flocking to Rio.
As it is, I really think the Olympics needs an overhaul. I have heard that one thing that may be great is to stop moving it around from country to country, where the various hosts end up spending billions far into the future just for the “honor” of holding the games in their country. Take Canada for example. The Canadians held the games in Montreal in 1976. The city of Montreal finished paying off the expenses for the games some 32 years later in 2008. And Canada is a relatively wealthy country. Some, like Korea or even Russia, will be paying for the games a lot longer than that. As will the Brazilians. And with all of the poverty in Rio, they may have better places to put that money!
Actually one idea that I thought was interesting was to build a permanent locale in Greece. That country started the Olympics eons ago, and it would only be fitting to hold the games there every four years. We could pick a similar spot for the winter games….maybe Switzerland or Norway. That way, you’d get more than two weeks’ worth of use out of the sites.
Overall, I feel for the athletes. These folks have trained their entire lives for these games and there is very little interest outside of Brazil in the games themselves. Oh, it’s still a big thrill to win a medal and be proclaimed one of the best in the world…but come on…haven’t we outlived the games’ usefulness?
It’s time to get real. The money that is spent on preparing the athletes, travel, qualifying, broadcasting, etc. could certainly be put to better use. I’m not anti-sport…I’m just anti-wasted money. And this seems like a huge white elephant to me.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!