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Jim Joseph Headshot

Has the Olympics Jumped The Shark?

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Is it just me or has the Olympics taken on a different feel this time around? From my vantage point, no one seems to be into them like back in the day.

Is it the weather? Although you would think that all this snow and ice would put us in the mood to watch the skiing and skating. Plus we're inside more these days anyway.

Is it the overall decline in big screen television watching? Maybe, but all the events are available to view from any screen we've got. In crowd sourcing for this post, I did hear a lot of commentary on the hosts being dreadful to watch, so that may be some of it. Although I also hear that the ratings are quite good, particularly given the time delay.

Is it the every other year timing? Now that we alternate the Olympics every other year, are they just too close together to be special anymore?

Or is it Russia? Has the drama around Russia overshadowed the games themselves and caused us to tune out?

It might be all of the above, actually.

The Olympics have become a bit of background noise ... a layer of activity that's out there but just sits in the background as we go about our lives. Sure it's on the television at the bar we go to for a drink or it's on at home while we multi-task or it's something we click in and out to read the headlines. But we're not really paying attention, at least not like we used to.

I used to love watching the Olympics.

Folks that were complete unknowns going into the games would come out as huge heroes. The very few would get a huge "moment in time" ... a glorious victory that they'd worked toward for their whole lives. The almost "instant" celebrity would extend when they "came home" and made the talk show circuit and then got endorsement deals. It was exciting to watch them achieve the success they so richly deserve. It was a huge win for the sponsorship brands as well.

It just doesn't feel that way anymore, and it's a little sad, don't you think?

Maybe it's all a generational and technology thing. We honestly just view pop culture differently, and we view it differently as well. There are "celebrities" everywhere now, in sports and out of sports so they're just not as "special" or "rare" as they used to be (I hate to say). And we "watch" them differently now via all sorts of channels, not just the screen hanging on the wall. We don't have to wait for a television appearance when we can follow their every move in social media.

And that's OK; it's just different that's all. But it takes a monumental moment like the Olympics to make us realize that there's been a shift ... a permanent shift in how we consume and share these kinds of events.

It's still enjoyable and still motivating, but through a different lens.

And then along comes the Russia-USA hockey game that shifts us right back into viewing action. That was a wow; pulled us right back into the good ole' days.

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