Shut up, Juventus is playing
World Watches Games, Italians Watch Soccer
By JOJI SAKURAI, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 17 minutes ago
OULX, Italy - Silvio Faure is a lonely man in a lonely bar. He sits on a stool in a room empty but for four men playing cards. On TV, Italy is beating Canada in Olympic curling.
Around the corner at the Roxy Bar, 100 fanatics are gathered around another TV. This one sits in a corner like an altar. There is constant yelling and cheering. It's for Juventus, the storied soccer team from nearby Turin.
Even in this valley, where Olympic events are being staged seemingly on every hill, all that matters is "calcio" (KAHL-choe) — Italian for soccer.
"The Olympics are a passing fancy that will be extinguished along with the Olympic flame," Claudio Zanbernardi, 29, said during halftime at the Roxy.
"In Italy, soccer is a true passion."
Last week, Italians celebrated their first gold medal of the games, the luge triumph of veteran Armin Zoeggeler. But the news wasn't as big as the matchup between first-place Juventus and second-place Internazionale, even though the title is all but decided.
The next morning, the front page of sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport showed where the nation's sporting priorities are: A huge headline trumpeted Juventus' 2-1 victory, while Zoeggeler's gold got silver-medal treatment — a picture of the luger with a small caption.
Vittorio Manfredi, who was watching the Juventus match at the Roxy, had another way to explain the place soccer holds in the hearts of Italian men.
"After women, there is soccer," he said. "Then comes culture, and then politics. That is the scale of values."
And where do the Olympics rank?
Manfredi merely shrugged, as if he didn't understand the question.
I doubt it is any different in the rest of Europe's major leagues. Most Italians could care less about the Winter Olympics. I don't think the Spaniards are any more fascinated by luge than the Italians, and the UK was paralyzed by the Africa Cup.
The Olympics is an American obsession during soccer league play. Another reason the summer games are more popular
posted by Steve @ 10:30:00 AM