“Legit the best time ever over here!”
Senior Sarah Hassett, a television-radio and international communications student, said this in a Facebook message on Feb. 14, the morning after Team USA swept the podium in slopestyle skiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She later apologized for the lack of professionalism, but the apology was not necessary. The Olympics are actually the best time ever.
I was in London in 2012 interning with NBC Sports, just as Hassett and 33 other students from Ithaca College are now. The Olympics are an experience and create an environment unlike any other atmosphere in the world.
Sure, the biggest story of the Olympics was Sochi’s inability to be ready for the world’s microscope. Sochi was warmer than Florida on Feb. 12, hotel accommodations have been trifling and dubious political standpoints have hung a veil over the games. There were and still are problems, but let’s focus on the core instead of the bruises.
Think about it: 88 countries gathered together for one purpose. Can you recall any other highly publicized event that can do that? All for a sporting event.
“The best part was being able to see all of the Olympic venues before anyone arrived,” Hassett said. “Seeing them go from being completely empty to filled with hundreds of thousands of people was an incredible experience.”
Hassett said her favorite part of the Olympics wasn’t attending multiple events, getting to speak with all of the 32 athletes who qualified for slopestyle skiing or getting pictures with gold medalist Joss Christensen and silver medalist Gus Kenworthy. She said the best part was the aura surrounding the Olympics.
There is something mystical about the Olympics. From the trading of pins that transcends language barriers, to the hordes of people walking around Olympic Park flaunting the colors of their countries, this is an event where everyone is on the same page.
Even if you disagree with how prevalent it is in contemporary times, the fact that “The Olympic Spirit” is a well-known saying is meaningful. In 2008, the Agence France-Presse wrote, “True Olympic Spirit is found away from gold medalists with their agents and sponsorship deals — it is found in its purest sense in those that come last.”
For example, snowboarders from different countries wishing one another good luck prior to runs they are all competing in illustrates this ethos. This is a sport untied from the corporations that rule professional leagues.
I understand the Olympics are not perfect, but in the sports world, they hold the throne.