As for this weeks post, I want to highlight a few things about the Olympic games in Russia.
The IOC and the rest of the world look at Sochi through very different lenses
There has been a good deal of praise coming to Sochi from the higher ups at the IOC about things in the Sochi games. The reporters and visitors have painted a much different picture. While the venues have been picturesque and some of the views from the area have been fantastic. The fact that a twitter handle arose before the games started about all of the problems with Sochi accommodations for both athletes and reporters alike. Likewise, many athletes have complained about the safety of some of the snow courses due to the warmer weather in Sochi compared to most Olympic cities.
The Olympics are not the time for trying new things
Under Armor spent the weeks leading up to the Olympics telling everyone how great their new suits were. The suits were meant to be better, faster, more aerodynamic than anything anyone else had. You have to love their confidence, but after the US started not only losing, but reporting slower times than normal the facts really started to come out. Under Armor NEVER TESTED the suits! They were so worried someone would steal their innovations that they never thought to test it. I'm sorry, but really? I know you have faith in your R&D department, but that is a big gamble for something that only happens once every 4 years.
"X-games vs. Olympics"
One Olympic commentator made the comment after several days that the USA was winning the "X-games" but losing the actual Olympics. I took a look at the medal count for the USA, 6 of the 9 USA gold medals were in either freestyle skiing of snowboarding events. 2 of our 7 silvers were the same, 4 of the 12 bronze as well. If you do the math right there, 43% of the US's metals were in a events that have been made popular by the X-games. Now there are 2 ways we can look at this. 1 way is that the only reason the US was successful was because of the X games athletes. The other way we can look at is because we specialize, just like every other nation in the world. The USA has never won a medal in sports like Handball, badminton, and table tennis. No one gets up in arms about the fact that the US has never won medals in those events. We, just like every other country in the world, have sports we are better at and that we invest more money into. We don't have professional Curlers. Why should we expect our athletes to compare with countries who field a whole team of pros. It's the same reason we expect to win in sports like Basketball. We specialize just like every other country, if the Olympics wants to have events that pander to our strengths then why not take advantage.
The US was able to end a few medal droughts this year. The US got their first ever medal in the women's skeleton and they picked up a medal in the 2 man bobsled which was the first in 64 years. It is easy to get caught up in the events in which the US didn't do quite as well.
Benton wrote a great piece about this about a week ago, but we need to keep things in perspective, we may not always win every Olympic event, but we did have a good showing. We finished 2nd in overall medals to the Russians (disappointing yes, but alas it happens). We had several athletes just barely missing the podium. We have a lot to be proud of.
Thanks for Reading,
- T.O. signing out