Ask most any college student which they like better, winter or summer, and a lot would say summer. Summer means vacation, sun and the beach. But every four years, summer also means the greatest athletic talent in the world competing for the ultimate prize: Olympic gold.
But summer isn’t the only season that is full of athletic competition. While the Winter Olympics are newer in terms of history, they bring just as much action, drama and suspense. Which leads to the big question: Which Olympics is better? Summer or Winter?
The Summer Games have more sports in number (26 versus Winter’s 15), and they tend to have more that appeal to the average fan. You get about a week of swimming competitions and then about a week of track and field events that fill in the downtime between sports like gymnastics, volleyball, tennis and basketball. You see heroes like Michael Phelps, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, and Shawn Johnson emerge. And you get to see NBA All-Stars come together on one team and actually play defense.
But the Summer Olympics took a dive for me when they erased softball and baseball from the itinerary and basically replaced them with golf. No disrespect to golf, but how can you remove a sport as demanding as baseball and replace it with a sport where the athletes walk around in khakis and call penalties on themselves?
The Winter Games may not have the same type of high profile sports, with potentially the exception of hockey, but once every four years, they draw our attention to some of the most interesting and dangerous sports around. Take skeleton for example. How often are you at home flipping through the channels and decide to watch, or even find, a skeleton competition? But if you’re like me, you watch it when it’s in the Olympics, and find out this is a sport that’s insane but totally captivating. People flying down a sheet of ice headfirst at 90 miles per hour? Crazy.
You see people shooting down mountains, flipping in air and gliding on ice in some picturesque location. You find yourself cheering for Nordic combined, curling and bobsled; rooting for Shaun White, Ryan Miller, Evan Lysacek, Lindsay Vonn and Apolo Anton Ohno, people you may have never heard of before.
[quote]Ultimately, the Olympics are about patriotism, unity, and sportsmanship. This is evident in every Games, be it under the glaring sun or a crisp snowfall.[/quote]
Ultimately, the Olympics are about patriotism, unity, and sportsmanship. This is evident in every Games, be it under the glaring sun or a crisp snowfall. Each Games is unique, with the host countries always doing something special and memorable. In the end, I can’t put one ahead of the other. The Games are not about summer or winter; they are about the stories, the moments, the heroes. You can find those no matter what the season is.