Feb 2014
Amanda Brandt

Is that So(chi)? The 5 best things about the Olympic Games

Amanda shares the five best parts of the Olympics. Spoiler alert: they have nothing to do with sports.


Matt recently wrote his guide to the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. (Check it here.) He provided a very basic and sports-oriented overview of the games. However, not everyone is as rah-rah about sports as Matthew. (Proudly raises hand.)

I would like to point out the obvious and say that the best parts of the olympics have nothing to do with sports.  Here are the five best things about the Winter Games, as told by a hyper patriotic non-sports fan who hates competition but loves pageantry.

• No. 5 :  The opening ceremony march of nations. This is like a large fashion show, except there are thousands of models and innumerable political influences at play. It is always fun to look at the outfits of countries, especially ones that we don’t understand very well or can’t even place on a map.

• No. 4 :  Watching dangerous sports. Sure, cross country skiing and hockey require a lot of physical strength and stamina. But they aren’t very dangerous, per se. At least not when compared to freestyle skiing or skeleton. Skeleton is just a paralyzing neck injury waiting to happen. It is thrilling and terrifying to watch.

• No. 3 :  The figure skating costumes. Figure skating and ice dancing mesmerizes me. The leaps, the turns, the sharp medal blades on their feet — magical. But the best part is the costumes and exaggerated makeup. Their outfits show much more personality that figure skating’s summer counterpart, gymnastics.

• No. 2 : Crying during the medal ceremony. It is always moving to watch someone be awarded a gold medal. After all, the athletes have worked for years to get a piece of metal.  The Wall Street Journal researched the 2012 London Summer Olympics and found that 16% of athletes cried at some point during their medal ceremony. (Read the  article here; It is really fascinating stuff.) I like when they cry, because it reminds the audiences that these athletes aren’t demi-gods, but real humans with real human emotions. Who doesn’t get a little choked up when they hear “The Star-Spangled Banner?” Check out this clip of the “Magnificent Seven” accepting their team gold medal for women’s gymnastics in 1996. I got full body chills watching it. 

• No. 1 : Unity. Finally, the best part about the Olympics is experiencing it with your friends and family. Gathering around a screen and collectively cheering and/or gasping really incites a community feel. And isn’t that what the olympic games are all about?

What are your favorite parts of the olympics? Did I miss anything crucial? Let me know on Twitter