By Steve Hansen

Olympics are still worth watching


February 14, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics have started.

South Korea put on a lavish, spectacular show to open them, and the games are on.

I’m not a great sports fan. On the day before the Super Bowl I had to go to Google to know the match-up.

I still have to Google “World Series” for a reminder of who played last year.

The Olympics still carry some weight with me, however.

That goes back to the 1960s.

Credit Jim McKay and Roone Arledge and the approach to sports they developed with ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Starting with that pounding tympani setting down the march beat and John Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme,” the Olympics acquired some weight to an impressionable youngster in the 1960s.

Young skiers, like my brothers and I, watched alpine ski events, slalom, giant slalom and downhill racing, with an unearned sense of identity.

And, of course, we avidly watched ski jumping, a Nordic event like cross-country skiing, just because it’s fun to watch people defy death and fly.

I can’t forget bobsled and luge, just because it was fun to watch people to defy death while rattling down a trough of ice, and the lugers bounced through haystacks like flat rocks skipping on water when they crashed.

Even the summer Olympics had significance. We were enthralled as we watched gymnastics, sprints and hurdles, pole vaulting, high jumping and throwing events like javelin and shot put.

Things have changed at the Olympics.

Snowboarders and skateboarders now have Olympic events. That’s good, but I have a lot more respect for the skateboarders, because their feet aren’t attached to the board.

Freestyle ski events are great additions, but only mogul skiing — bouncing like a demented rabbit off deep bumps on a steep hill — adds a real skiing skill to the mix. The aerial events, to me, are gymnastics on snow. Slope styling is basically skateboarding on snow. Ski-cross is moto-cross racing on skis.

Some other thoughts:

• Professional athletes now compete in the Olympics. That takes away a lot of hypocrisy.

• I don’t know whether I should think kindly of a temporary unity between democratic South Korea and militaristic slave state North Korea, but it’s there. It’s a very temporary cessation of hostilities, I would think.

• Commercialism at the Olympics? Always has been and always will be there. What a great way to get your product, service or cause in front of a wide-ranging international audience of millions upon millions.

• Politics? Always has and always will be a part of the games.

Still, it’s the Olympics. Still, it’s a way to watch athletes stake a claim on being the best in the world.

Still, it’s worth taking some time to watch, and I intend to watch.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at:



Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 04/24/2020 13:14