The Olympic Spirit? – Gaijinhan

The Olympic Spirit?

I was back in Singapore for the Chinese New Year recently and was a little disappointed the Winter Olympics wasn’t on TV since it’s pretty big in Japan. And that is very understandable because Singapore has no stake in the Winter Olympics since we do not participate in it while Japan does.

Olympics is said to be for the promotion of peace and unity through sports but when athletes cry from losing a game, it seems to have defeated its purpose. If the true aim is for peace and unity, what medal you receive shouldn’t matter and shouldn’t be a reason for you to cry about because at the end of the event, all who are able to come together in peace are winners.

But here comes more about this spirit of the Olympics. The winter and summer Olympics used to be held in the same year in the same country. Until 1992, that is, when the IOC decided to stagger the winter and summer Olympics such that every 2 years, there will be an Olympics event (winter Olympics followed by summer Olympics) for a very pragmatic reason: money. So, instead of earning money for the Olympics once every 4 years, they now earn it once every 2 years.

One of the biggest revenue also comes in the form of broadcasting. Have you ever wondered who decided the schedule of the sporting events (i.e. what time which event is held?) It’s actually the TV stations of various countries. For example, figure skating is huge in the US, so they pay a lot of money so that the events are held during prime time in America, morning in Japan; Ski events are popular in Europe, and so they are held during prime time in Europe but late at night in Korea; Short track speed skating is popular in Korea and that is why the events are held during prime time in Korea.

Knowing this makes me find the Olympics less of an innocent event to promote peace and unity, but more of a competition and capitalistic opportunity. Regardless, I still find it enjoyable to watch. Maybe some things are better left unknown.

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