Columnist prefers summer Olympics

March 3, 2014 — by Arman Vaziri

It is hard to be excited about the Winter Olympics when it is hard to relate to and there is very little head-to-head action.

As the Winter Olympics came around this season, I found it hard to be too excited. While the Summer Olympics are one of the best events of the year, the Winter Olympics are like the attention-seeking little brother.

I can’t be the only one who feels this way, as there are quite a few major problems with the Winter Olympics.

It is hard to relate to the different competitions because the sports only appeal to a people in a narrow range of geographic locations. In addition, sports are also less suspenseful because the athletes in these sports sometimes don’t compete directly against each other; they compete for times.

According to Nielsen, the 2012 London Summer Olympics were watched by 219.4 million American viewers, which made it the most watched event in American television history. Yet the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics were only watched by 190 million American viewers, according to Nielsen. 

There are many reasons for the difference in interest. For one thing, Winter Olympic sports are far more obscure. Fewer people take part in sports such as skiing, ice skating and curling, which is why viewers of the Winter Olympics don’t feel the same attachment to these sports. The reason the Summer Olympics are more popular is that many more people play (or have played) sports like soccer, which is the most viewed sport worldwide, than sports like curling.

 Similarly, for those who live in locations where it never snows like Saratoga, winter sports cannot be practiced close to home, and involve long journeys to places like Tahoe.

The viewers are also more inclined to watch the Summer Olympics because in these sports, athletes often directly compete against each other, whereas, most of the time, winter athletes compete for times and points that are compared to each of the competitors. The latter of course is less intense than watching the athletes compete head-to-head. 

For example, skiers complete the runs individually for a time that is later compared to other skiers’ times. By contrast, track and field runners race against each other to the finish line, creating an atmosphere with more suspense. 

Some people may like watching snowboarding, but as for me, I’ll take soccer or swimming every time because of the head-to-head action and because I am more used to these summer sports.

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