I am a sports junkie. I have gotten hooked on every major sport except golf at some point in my life (yes even baseball and I had a brief fling) and of course I love the Olympics. No, it’s not for the national unity or the Spice Girls singing on taxis with LED lights on them it’s because for sixteen marvelous days I can turn on my TV and see a random sport. It is a sport I have probably not seen before or at the very least have not seen for four years. A sport is worth broadcasting if it’s the event that is on at the time, not because it will draw ratings or because it is a national pass time.
Don’t get me wrong I love hockey and football. They are excellent sports and obviously very popular but major broadcasters make the mistake of thinking that people won’t watch other sports or that they aren’t worth broadcasting. If the Olympics proves anything it’s that there is an enormous appetite for fringe sports. As I said I will watch just about anything and count biathlon among my favourite sports — the drama and pressure of the shooting stages is pretty out of this world — and the Olympics give me that chance.
The only this is that now I’ve had a taste of what twenty-four hour access to a wide variety of sports is like I don’t want to go back. I want gymnastics and swimming and volleyball instead of poker. I want to watch a different sport every night of the week. I don’t just want the big sports I want everything else too, and it seems that so does everyone else. We will watch these sports, and not just watch them get into them. Even watching soccer in Canada is difficult, let alone anything else.
Some sports have managed to break in. TSN regularly broadcasts snowboarding events — which usually feature Aussies as announcers (a reason for those of you haven’t watched snowboarding to consider it) — and CBC features lots of ski events. But why not everything else? Why can’t broadcasters make room for other events, especially during downtime? Why don’t all of these amazing athletes who are winning medals at the Olympics making it onto Sports Centre the rest of the year?
The Olympics are special in that all of these sports get put in the spotlight for a brief period of time, but they don’t have to fade completely.