The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Countdown begins: Upcoming Olympics promise thrilling competitions

Four+athletes+stand+to+greet+the+media+following+their+freestyle+wrestling+performances+at+the+2020+Tokyo+Olympics%2C+which+were+actually+played+in+2021.+They+each+wear+a+different+color+medal+depending+on+how+they+placed+in+the+contest.+
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
Four athletes stand to greet the media following their freestyle wrestling performances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were actually played in 2021. They each wear a different color medal depending on how they placed in the contest.

Let the games begin! The International Olympic Games are headed to Paris this summer, but not without controversy. While some view the Olympics as an opportunity for the world to come together, others view it as a way for countries to showcase their overall strength and demonstrate a sense of superiority.

“The Olympics tend to be not so political today, as long as they pick places like Paris and Japan (when it was in China or Russia there were political issues),” WCHS history teacher Paul Jacobson said. “However, there have always been some political issues within the host country. Many people see hosting the Olympics as a waste of money from the building of all the stadiums and facilities.”

International and domestic politics aside, whether or not the Olympic Games are even of interest anymore is debatable. With some new sports added into the lineup, classics like baseball, softball and karate have had to be removed from the contest.

“The absence of major sports in the Olympics makes me have no interest in watching the games,” WCHS sophomore Massimo Lopez-Pineda said. “To me, [the Olympics] are usually less entertaining since I am not as familiar with the sports or athletes participating in them.”

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To some, the Olympics offer a nice break from the sports that take over ESPN and social media constantly. The games provide a unique opportunity to throw games that most Americans would not usually watch into the spotlight.

“Those [Olympic] sports are on the airwaves constantly in the US,” Jacobson said.  “It is nice to see underappreciated sports get their moment, especially track.”

While many value highlighting the less televised sporting events and appreciate the broader exposure, others are planning to watch the more traditional American events, or they do not plan to watch at all. 

“In the modern day of social media, it feels like many people will only want to watch events that get covered or have more excitement built up before the Olympics,” WCHS sophomore Ryan Nudelman said. “It is just so much harder to watch something when you do not know who the athletes are or how the sport is played because it is not something you see on TV otherwise.”

Some major sports like American football are absent simply because they are not considered international sports. But other sports like baseball, which is considered an international sport since it is played professionally in more than 100 countries worldwide, is not included in the games this year, and has been in and out of the games in recent decades. Since Major League Baseball (MLB) does not always send their players to the games while they are mid-season, there are concerns with player quality if the sport is to be included.

“I feel like you have to include all of the major sports,” Nudelman said. “Even if one country doesn’t send their guys, other major professional leagues around the world have literally paused their seasons for the games before. Those players are great too, and deserve a chance to show it.”

Baseball is not the only sport with concerns related to player quality. Soccer is still played despite FIFA not requiring clubs to release their star players so they can participate. This policy has led to clubs not letting their players go over understandable injury concerns. This has caused player quality in the games to decrease, making viewership drop during the  Olympic games.

“It makes sense that clubs don’t want to jeopardize their stars’ career playing in the Olympics,” Nudelman said. “While they are important to some, I believe organizations and players do not want to take the risk of injuries in something that is optional like the Olympics. However, that sort of defeats the purpose of the games since it is not the best international competition.”

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