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The Olympics Will Reel You In Again

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In an age of ultra-high definition and the ability to watch any sporting event anywhere in the world live on your phone, it has become a mostly accepted axiom that sports are made-for-television events. But this is never more true than at the Olympics.

The Olympics are a television show. They are more than that to the athletes involved, of course — people who have trained their entire lives to master very specific pursuits, many of which only draw mainstream coverage once every four years (or five years, in this pandemic-delayed case). But for you, me, and everybody else, they are a fortnight of mini-dramas. All those years of hard work are distilled into four-minute video pieces introducing us to an athlete, getting us hooked on their story, with the entire arc of their lives edited into bite-size chunks of programming. People experience the Olympics in short chunks, to be forgotten about quickly before they move onto something else. They are, in their purest sense, reality TV.

And if there were ever a year in which the Olympics need to be exactly that — with all the chaos and boring parts edited away — this sure is it. By every account, the Olympics are already a mess. Athletes are testing positive for COVID in growing numbers. Tokyo is in a state of emergency. Japanese citizens have been begging the Olympics to stay away for months. Major corporate sponsors, the true lifeblood of the Olympics, are already bailing;........

© Daily Intelligencer

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