Winter Olympics, From Coverage to Medals: A Cultural View

The U.S. hockey team in 1980….Katarina Witt and Scott Hamilton in Sarajevo..Oksana Baiul coming out of nowhere to wow us all..”Eddie the Eagle” jumping into history…the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding debacle…the medals controversies…all season our memory with highlights of an event, that for a time, shows more about the promise of the future than the shortcomings of today. The highs and lows, the emotions that swing from ecstatic to crushed. The only time I see curling on television. All great reasons to watch the Olympics. But what else can we take away from the events?

It’s a time when national pride is rampant, but tempered with a spirit of admiration for true accomplishment. It reminds those of us that might forget, that it is all worth it. Life, that is. To dream big, to take that chance, to put all your effort into something you love. To, at least for the moment, to imagine that the world is driven by finer virtues. Religion, ethnicity, and personal wealth mean nothing to the medals podium. It sees all as having the same chance to stand on the top, to achieve the gold.

I think we see a least a little glimpse of what we can be, each of us. And the world we can make. Some call this a rose-colored -glasses way to think, so be it. I like to think that we can one day be a planet where the most heated competitions are on the ice or snow or court or ballpark, not on the battlefield.

And the Olympics always take us to a place. Sometimes, it is a place we no little about, like the wonderful city of Lillehammer, Norway. A place that we become very familiar with over the course of the games. Can anyone forget the beauty of Sarajevo, in the light of the tragedy that befell the city later? And the individual stories never fail to inspire. I especially like the athletes who triumph over adversity, forced to practice triple jumps on outdoor ungroomed ice, or get their town behind them to be able to go to the games. I can’t get enough of the coverage. My only wish is that there was more of an international flair to that coverage. I like to see more events, not just the ones we have good chances in. When we look at the games, if we really look, we can see beyond today, to a world united and peaceful. If you try, can you imagine it too?

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