Olympics? No, stupid, World Cup
The only thing which matters
The Winter Blues
As a stand-alone, the Winter Games can't sustain a buzz. They certainly can't match the passions brewing for football's world cup.
By Mark Starr
Feb. 6, 2006 issue - ..................
Now almost six years later, that kind of Olympic excitement is finally stirring again. I sense the anticipation, the lure of a proud nation anxious to show off its prowess to the world. An epic celebration looms, perhaps even a great wall coming down. Alas, Beijing is still more than two years off. It is Torino 2006 that opens in less than a fortnight—and with a marked absence of anticipatory fervor. My friends in the States are amazed to discover that another Olympics is imminent and have no clue where it will take place. That may be par for the provincial. But I was startled to learn from a colleague in Rome that, in the wine and coffee bars there, folks seem unaware that the Games are afoot in their own country.
These are "The Stealth Games," coming up very quickly and under the radar. It is hardly the fault of Torino, a fading, former auto-manufacturing capital known around the globe for a great football team and its shroud. Its Olympic credo—passion lives here—lends itself to parody, crying out for the addendum and only here. Truth is that Sydney, for all its natural blessings, had the good fortune to be the last hurrah before the events of 9/11 irrevocably altered the Olympic landscape.
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, there was an Olympic season. It came around every four years and commanded considerable attention. Infrequency was not its only virtue. There was a natural progression. The Winter Games—smaller, less compelling but more charming—served as athletic hors d'oeuvres, whetting our appetite for the big acts of summer. No doubt it made sense, as the Olympics became an increasingly vast enterprise, to balance the IOC workload by staging one every two years. But as a stand-alone, Winter can't sustain a buzz. It certainly can't match the passions brewing for football's World Cup, which begins in June. In Italy more folks are worrying whether aging superstar Alessandro Del Piero will win a place on the World Cup team than whether Giorgio Rocca will win the Olympic slalom.
I will put this simply: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THE OLYMPICS.
Not with the World Cup in June. Only to Americans was the Olympics the surpreme sporting event in the world.
To nearly every other human on the planet, it's the World Cup. That exhibition Major League Baseball is holding: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT.
The World Cup is the ONLY sporting event which matters to most people. Whole countries shut down. In 2002, Senegal just stopped working after a World Cup victory. Stopped cold. They had riots in Moscow and London after losses, because the games were on giant screens in downtown.
The Italians were bitching because the US was in their same group. They claimed the pick was rigged and this was news for a week, Headline news. The fact that the Olympics are in Italy will get less coverage than the World Cup did in the US.
posted by Steve @ 9:08:00 AM