I’m sitting in my house. It’s Friday night. I’m watching the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. It’s beautiful. All those athletes who found a way to keep training during the pandemic. Inspiring.
I’m still on the fence about whether they should have had these games. With that said, they did… so I’m all in.
How can you not love looking at these kids? These athletes who have spent their lives training for this moment… plus an extra year.
Even wearing masks, you can see the joy on their faces. Their eyes, bright with enthusiasm. They are finally here.
Lindsey Crouse wrote a great piece for the New York Times: “I’m tired of being cynical. I’m watching the Olympics.”
She gets it right, I think. The institution we know as The Olympic Games is in many ways broken and full of controversy. From how the host cities are selected to how countries have treated their athletes.
Even the United States has a lot to answer for with how these gymnasts were abused. USA Gymnastics, in my opinion, should be ashamed of itself for how it handled the Larry Nassar situation.
So, why am I watching the Olympics? Lindsey Crouse said it best in her NYT piece… it’s not about the institution, it’s about the athletes. The Olympians themselves.
She writes: “We don’t have many ways left in our culture to be collectively inspired. After more than a year of lockdown, tragedy and uncertainty, watching athletes achieve their dreams despite all the challenges felt like one.”
Yes, she’s right. I don’t care what country they are from. I don’t care what sport it is. I want to be inspired. I can watch Simone Biles defy gravity all day long. I can watch Carissa Moore surf all day long. Heck, I can even watch skateboarding.
It’s different now. The world doesn’t stop for the Olympics like it used to. I don’t know why. I can remember early in my career working for a TV station that broadcast the Olympics. You didn’t have to work too hard covering the news during the Games. The ratings were built in for success.
On the other hand, if you worked for a TV station that didn’t have the Olympics, you didn’t work too hard either. You always lost to the competition, and you had a great reason.
They had the Olympics.
It’s not like that anymore. I guess we all have other interests and plenty of other channels to choose from.
Right now, I’m sticking with the Olympics. I need to be inspired. So far, so good.