There will be a moment over the next two weeks where I will flip on the television or click an online stream and catch myself watching a 50k cross country ski race. Or maybe it will be a speed skating sprint competion. Certainly, I will glimpse at a few bobsled or luge runs. As the climax of the Winter Olympic Games approaches I will be wrapped up in the concern: can an American medal in figure skating?
None of these sports holds an interest for me at other times of year or during off Olympic years, but there is something about the coverage of the winter games and the community of viewership that surrounds them` that makes me a temporary fan every time they come around. There's a good chance you feel the same way.
The television coverage itself is a combination of technical innovation and emotional storytelling that can turn the mundane into fascinating. The great Roone Arledge deserves credit for changing the way the networks turned the Olympics into true prime time viewing. In the absence of the former Cold War we tend to root for individuals more than nations. Knowing the challenges overcome by the competitor gives us a cheering interest.
Add social media to the mix and you won't be able to avoid the Olympic conversation once it begins. So embrace it. Enjoy it. The winter games only come around every four years.
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