By Jamie Morse
The notion that the UK as a country holds a particular apathy towards the Winter Olympics is not a controversial statement. Whilst we don’t actively hate the Winter Olympics, the question poses as to whether we watch it ourselves. Yes, we hope our athletes do well, yet the Winter Olympics simply don’t capture us as a public to the same degree as their warm weather counterpart. We don’t win enough at the Winter Olympics. We’re a country that comes to a standstill under amounts of snow that the Winter Olympic titans of Norway and Canada take as a part of their average day. The Winter Olympics just aren’t our scene – so do they matter at all?
Olympic season is a time of appreciation and reverence for our national athletes, it’s a common sight during the Summer Games to see us as a nation clinging to our sofas, desperate to see every second of Mo Farah’s next goal medal success. Despite our dismissive attitude towards the Winter Olympics, I don’t believe this translates to anything other than support and respect for our athletes in attendance.
Jenny Jones, Eve Muirhead, Lizzy Yarnold. These are not just names we half-heartedly recall from the nightly news, they are competitors we acknowledge as great athletes. We can remember what medals they won and in which sports they won them. Simply put, we give any athlete that wins us a medal at the Winter Olympics the same level of celebrity as we do our Summer Olympics achievers – even though as a country, we could take or leave the events themselves.
So this must be about success then, surely? In the Summer Olympics of 2016 we won sixty seven medals across the board. In the 2012 Winter Olympics we won four. You do remember where those inter games were held right? I sure didn’t. It was Sochi.
So that’s it then. Despite all the spirit of sportsmanship and polite competition which we attach to the games, the bottom line is this – if you don’t win, we won’t remember you.
I think this a huge flaw in the way we view the games. Ideally the Olympics should be an event of mutual appreciation among nations. In the same way we swoon at Usain Bolt’s continued brilliance on the world stage, so too should we treat ourselves to the amazing performances of athletes worldwide on unique Winter Olympics events such as Snowboarding and Alpine Skiing.
Indeed we’ll surely be confronted with something we inherently enjoy – high stakes action. There are Winter Olympics events that offer us amazing spectacles of bravery. Who doesn’t quiver slightly when watching someone attempt Ski Jumping. In the Winter Olympics we watch athletes hurtling down bobsled lanes, slaloming down treacherous inclines, and soaring through the air gracefully. There is so much to love at the Winter Olympic games, if only we could get over our apathy and our unwavering national pride.