By Anthony Santino
So, in case you haven’t been watching any NBC—or sports-related broadcasts in general—the Winter Olympics are underway.
I can legitimately say I’ve been in tune with the Olympics since the 2000 summer edition in Sydney.
I was very young, but I remember watching some of the basketball and swimming competitions in my friend’s living room.
Ever since my early days, the Olympics have held a special place in my heart. However, in that same breath, I must say that I’ve always viewed the winter games to be the “little brother” to the summer ones. That’s definitely an unpopular opinion in the eyes of people who love winter sports (obviously), but I think I have a strong case for feeling that way.
Reason number one why the Summer Olympics are at least slightly better than the Winter ones: no one’s getting dunked on in Pyeongchang. Basketball may not be an Olympic-specific sport, but it’s my favorite sport to watch, and the summer games had it.
At the 2000 Olympics down under, 6’6” American basketball legend Vince Carter jumped over 7’2” Frederic Weis of France to make one of the most awesome dunks in Olympiad history. In basketball, getting “dunked on” is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a player during the course of a game, and Carter pulled off perhaps the greatest one of all time on a world stage. Tell me how that could happen in alpine skiing…
Reason number two why the summer games are better: it has track and field, table tennis and water polo, aka the necessary components of an electric cornucopia of sport.
To me, you don’t have the Olympics without track. It’s the kind of sport that people don’t pay much attention to throughout a regular year, but for one month every four years, it’s the most important sport on the planet—all because of the Olympics.
As for table tennis, it almost goes without saying, but you also need it for a successful Olympics. Some of those rallies are so crazy that they should be given a straightjacket. And water polo? I don’t think I need to explain why it’s one of the best niche sports and vital for the Summer Olympiad.
To interrupt my campaign of showering love all over the Summer Olympics, I will give some credit to the winter games. I’ve always loved snowboarding and skiing events, and having a grand stage for them to be on display is pretty cool. (Figure skating can also be must-see TV on occasion).
I will also give credit to the Winter Olympics for filling in a portion of the four-year Summer Olympic drought. To me, the four-year wait makes it kind of special, but it’s also too long to go without Olympic action.
With the winter games having its own feel and breaking up the four-year break, it’s a good reminder of the importance of the Olympics and how it kind of brings the world together a bit better than usual. I mean, even the two Koreas fielded a joint women’s hockey team. Who knows what that could lead to?
The Super Bowl comes along every year, and it always feels special. I feel like the Olympics would definitely not have the same feel if they came around every year; they would also be pretty disruptive to domestic sports leagues. I suppose then, in conclusion, I’m glad the Olympics are rare. And although I can appreciate the Winter Olympics, its summer counterpart simply cannot be replaced.