Confession Time: I Don’t Like the Olympics

I must make a confession: I don’t care about the Olympics. 

I almost wrote that I kinda hate them, but that’s not true. I absolutely respect the athletes who make it to the competition and who devote thousands of hours to training. I also enjoy hearing about how some competitors beat all of the odds to make it to the games, despite a lack of funds or an Olympic development program in their country. That’s all kosher in my book.

I guess what I don’t like is that for a few weeks it dominates almost every channel on television, which yes, I understand sounds like a rather whiny complaint. But I just find them all so boring. I don’t like to run myself, so why would I watch someone else do it? Same with swimming. I grew up playing tennis, but I haven’t watched a tournament in years (I used to love me some Wimbledon growing up, but now, I don’t think I could name a tennis player whose last name isn’t Williams). I just find it to be dull.

I want to like the Olympics; I really do. I find that people think it’s bizarre that I am so uninterested. The last summer Olympics coincided with my moving to New York City to start grad school, which was cool in one way – here we were, 300 or so journalism students from across the world, starting a new chapter of our lives at the same time people from our respective countries were vying for the gold. There was some good natured ribbing when one country would edge out another in medals, but since I wasn’t following along, I had to just nod and act enthused. The few times I mentioned that I wasn’t keeping up, I was looked at like I was some sort of un-patriotic freak. Well, excuse me for wanting to keep up with the Real Housewives of the O.C., not Michael Phelps.

Tell me why I should watch the Olympics, and what your favorite competition is. There’s still hope (maybe) for me to convert to a Olympic-devotee before the summer’s end. I will say that if any of it involves me gazing at Ryan Lochte, I’m all in.

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Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

29 thoughts on “Confession Time: I Don’t Like the Olympics”

  1. I love the Olympics.  Well – the Summer Olympics.  Winter, the only thing I care about is ice skating.

    But Summer! Gymnastics! Swimming! Volleyball!

    I found Misty May and Kerri Walsh to be the most awesome thing about the events in China.  For some reason, I found their beach vball playing to be a feminist act.  Watching them made me proud, hopeful, excited – their teamwork is amazing, but also, the thing I love about volleyball is that even professionals make mistakes (all the time) – and volleyball is a sport that shows you how people deal with each other as partners/teams and how they deal with mistakes.  My personal theory is that you can truly glean someone’s character from how they play volleyball.  Not necessarily if they’re good at the sport, but just how they play and interact with other players.

    This is why I’m excited about the coming Olympics.  Also, I think Gabby Douglas may be the first black woman to have won the American Olympic trials for gymnastics. [I’m not sure on that, but I don’t remember it being done since I’ve been watching.  Dominique Dawes was awesome, but I don’t think she won the trials.]

    So – nutshell? I love to watch awesome ladies being awesome. Summer Olympics has lots of that.

  2. Same here. I guess it’s not that I don’t like the Olympics, it’s just the news coverage that drives me crazy. Maybe I just don’t want to be inspired by today’s 247th story of perseverance, Bob Costas. It’s very possible that I’m just too cynical for the Olympics.

  3. I don’t like to run myself, so why would I watch someone else do it?

    This is probably exactly why I do watch: I love seeing people do things that look absolutely implausible, things that I could never do. For example:

    That last flip (technical term) at the end just kills me every time.

    So that’s my advice: pick an event you’d never do in a million years, and enjoy:) Sure, there are sports and events I find boring (soccer, anyone?) but I do think there’s such a variety of events out there that the odds of you finding something interesting are pretty good.

  4. Honestly, I like the events themselves but am completely irritated with sports coverage.  The plinky plonky piano music they slather on when there is anything tragic in anyone’s story.  The cliches, the sentimentality, the interviews when they carefully ask the questions that will get them to cry.  It gives me quite the rage headache.  So, since that is such a big part of watching, I usually skip it.

    Sorry athletes!  I really do admire you so very much.

    It would be cool to have an option to just watch straight event coverage without all the background roll-in stuff.

  5. My only interests lie in the aquatic competitions. I think I annoyed my dining companions when the US diving trials were on a couple weeks ago (we were at the Ruby Tuesday’s bar area) because I was oohing and ahhing and critiquing. “If they just pulled their tuck in, they wouldn’t need to split it and they’d spin faster.” Or “Oh, they double-hopped on that, that’s an automatic two points off the top.” Coaching HS diving for a few years on top of competing makes you notice the little things.

    1. I do remember one summer – it must have been the games eight years ago – where I caught some of the diving and was enthralled. I am terrified of diving into the pool on a tiny little board, so I was in awe of what these athletes were doing.

  6. I love the Olympics!  Love. Love. Love. I get sucked into all the stories of trials the athletes went through and I love seeing underdogs win (and with as many competitions as they have an underdog is bound to win one).  I like that less popular sports get celebrated rather than your typical American football/baseball/hockey/basketball.  I’m currently seriously considering buying a TV so I can watch non-stop.  I need to look into what I can watch online.  From about middle school on I used to stay up all night so I could watch live events or extra coverage.  I remember I was watching live when the Atlanta Olympics was bombed (which wikipedia tells me was 1:20am) .

    Summer Olympics faves: gymnastics (and as an added bonus one of the gymnast is from my home town), archery, diving, the field part of track & field (particularly high jump, and long jump), but I’ll pretty much watch anything.

  7. I had a similar experience- the 2008 Olympics were right after I moved to college, and watching them helped me take the edge off the homesickness. I had also watched Michael Phelps in Athens because I like swimming, so it was cool to watch him explode into such a big deal. So now I’m pretty excited for the London games now that I’m a convert, but I’ll probably stick to swimming and the cool-looking stuff like gymnastics.

    Why I think the Olympics are worth watching:

    1. It boggles my mind that, at a time when we can’t even get the politicians in one country to agree long enough to do anything productive, all these countries from around the world get together for this one event.

    2. Lots of athletic sexy bodies, often in tight clothes

    1. 1. It boggles my mind that, at a time when we can’t even get the politicians in one country to agree long enough to do anything productive, all these countries from around the world get together for this one event.

      This is the core of my love for the Olympics. In the ancient games there was a law that all armed conflict had to stop for a month to allow athletes, their trainers, and all spectators to travel to the Games unharmed. It was a sacred duty.

       

  8. Yeah, I’m pretty meh about the whole thing too. I attribute my lack of enthusiasm for any sport to my parents not liking sports of any kind so I had ZERO exposure as a child. I mean, to anything. The only sport related activity I did growing up was gym class up until jr. high when I injured my knee and was out of P.E. forever.

    A few years ago Mr. Bacon and I moved into a place together and couldn’t afford cable or satellite. We only had rabbit ears and got 3 channels, and not very clearly at that. This was before streaming Netflix (my only source of T.V. now) and all I had to watch one winter was the winter Olympics. Watching the competitions was pretty cool and I developed an appreciation for what they did and actually enjoyed watching them. That was the one and only year I’ve ever watched the Olympics.

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