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Point-Counterpoint: Winter or Summer Olympics?

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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Summer

The Summer Olympics are superior to the Winter Olympic Games for a multitude of reasons. They are far more rooted in tradition, have proven to be much more marketable, and are more exciting to watch.

Tradition is one of the founding principles of the Olympics, which get its name from the ancient Greeks, who most certainly did not have luges and skiing. In fact, their sports had very little equipment involved, something that winter sports cannot say.

Emphasis on the human body is what makes the summer games so much more interesting. There is more of a focus on the limits that a human body can be pushed to as opposed to the limits that a snowboard can get a person to. Usain Bolt doesn’t get downhill slopes to use to run faster, and Michael Phelps doesn’t use anything but his freakishly long arms to win another gold.

When mentioning the names Bolt and Phelps, it’s also impossible to ignore the star power that the athletes bring. Whenever LeBron James, Rodger Federer, and someone such as Bolt are in the same place, it’s a big deal. In fact, that’s only just a scratch at the surface of the names that come up at the summer games.

In the winter Olympics, it’s much more difficult to find and create those types of stars. Summer Olympians become household names; their winter brethren exist only as passing fads.

The one exception to this rule is hockey, but even its star power can be questionable. While movies such as Miracle do hockey a bit of favor, other sports overshadow it.

Such as soccer.

Football is by far the most played sport in the world, and whenever the United States has a chance of being remotely competitive in it, people watch. It helps that the last Olympics as well as the 2016 games are both in football-crazy nations (Great Britain and Brazil, respectively), and press coverage focused quite a bit on the world’s most popular sport.

The summer Olympics will always be a bigger deal because people care more about them than a select group of cold-weather nations.

Plus the 2016 games will have rugby — that’s basically American football, right?

— by Jordan Hansen

Winter

When it comes to the Olympics, winter has it all over summer, and it’s not even close.

Before I go any further, let’s get the obvious out of the way: besides maybe the World Cup, the Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament is the single greatest international sporting competition in the world.

Unlike soccer in the summer games, which limits the age of its participants to 23 or younger, the NHL’s involvement in the Winter Olympics has ensured the absolute best of the best are able to compete for each country, a feat that no other Olympic team sport can match.

However, the winter games are superior to the summer games for reasons other than hockey.

People argue that winter sports such as skiing and luge are elitist and not true sports. However, I would argue that because many events in the winter games are obscure, that makes them great.

Think about it like this: Most sports fans, Americans in particular, could care less about what happens at the X-Games or world championships for bobsled.  However, for one magical two-week period every four years, these events become bigger than the Super Bowl, and unknowns such as Kate Hansen and Felix Loch become household names.

These sports are extremely obscure to the mainstream, and yet every Olympics, they manage to captivate audiences all over the globe and hold that attention for the duration of the games.

Compare that with the marquee track and field events of the Summer Games such as hurdles or the 100-meter dash.  Exciting, sure, but I could go to any high school in America and watch a track meet if I wanted. 

On the flip side, unless you have a vested interest in ski jumping or men’s half-pipe, the Olympics are pretty much your only bet to catch them on mainstream TV.

It is this mystique of the obscure that makes the winter games superior.

— by Ryan Rodriguez


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