Having a DVR (digital video recorder) has changed the way I watch the Olympics. Four years ago, I taped a few of the events that were broadcast while I slumbered. This time around, I’ve been recording 12 to 15 hours a day. Of course, I don’t watch nearly that much — in actuality, I only spend 2 to 3 hours a day watching those events that are of most interest to me, happily skipping the commercials and fast-forwarding through the boring parts.
In the Olympics, and all sports for that matter, I prefer those events with objective outcomes (track and field, swimming, beach volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball, baseball, tennis, table tennis, soccer, and so forth) and am less disposed towards events with subjective scoring (such as gymnastics, diving, synchronized swimming, equestrian, trampoline, and a few others that I don’t watch).
At the Olympics, it is interesting to note the amount of time, effort, and people that is required in the various events to win a gold medal. Take the 100 meter dash, for example, which lasts less than 10 seconds; even with preliminaries, quarter finals, semi-finals, and finals, the gold medal winner has competed less than a minute to win.
Compare that to the marathon, in which there is only one race, but lasts a couple hours.
Then there is the triathlon, the heptathlon, and decathlon in which a single contestant must compete in several disciplines, often grueling, in order to win gold.
Last, by not least, are the team events, in which groups of people compete over the span of many days, often for hours at a time, with the ultimate prize being a singular medal. (Each member receives a medal, but the medal count is only incremented by one.)
The equalizing factor is that all competitors dedicate years of their life to compete at the Olympic level, so the amount of effort actually expended at the games is quite minor in comparison. Even so, in each event, all compete, but only one person gets the prize.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.