But, recently I have been learning skiing and I love it more than any other sport I have ever played. I have always loved mountains and there is something different about going down a mountain with a high speed! People are drawn to Formula 1 racing and other speed sports for probably the exact same reason - SPEED! And thats exactly what you get to experience when you ski.
For that reason and the fact that I live in Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, I am motivated to follow the olympics this year. It seems that the 2002 Olympics have left a profound impact and have changed Salt Lake forever! The olympics still linger around here in the air. The people I have interacted with, who were here during the time, have such awesome stories to tell. One man I talked to at a small, local electronics shop said "Man, what a time it was. Firecrackers, lots of people, sports and excitement! Along with that came so much business also. I was so busy , and was working so hard that I fell sick. And yet I enjoyed the olympics. I would pay anything to bring the Olympics back here!"
Then there is all the new construction that took place for the Olympics, which we are taking advantage of as U students today. Even though I wasn't here in 2002, it makes me feel like I am a part of the winter olympics tradition somehow. Its crazy! In fact, the other day I was reading on BBC how the IOC is worried about the mega structures that Olympics leave behind in the host cities and is imploring future cities to scale down their ambitions of building moster facilities for the Olympics which never get utilized to their complete capacity after the event is over. In fact, it makes economic sense in bring back the Olympics to a city that has hosted it before, because then you ammortize the cost of building it the first time. Its money well spent. But the IOC feels it should keep rotating so that it can spread the Olympics more. I really feel that the IOC should strongly consider leveraging the already built facilities and help the host cities out since most host cities end up losing money on the Olympics. Salt Lake was one of the few cities in recent history to turn a profit. If so many cities end up losing money, I think hosting the games a second time (maybe after 8 or 12 years) will help the cities making more money to recoup the losses with relatively little expenditure the second time.
Moving along, there is another thing I noticed. I was going through the Athlete roster by country and I couldn't help but notice the disparity in numbers. USA has a total of 221 athletes participating in these Olympics. U.K. has 51. India has (guess....) 4! A measly 4. Every time the olympics or World Cup soccer or any other world sporting event comes along, India gets criticized for its lack of participants or the number of medals that we bag in comparison to the percentage of world population it has. So this is no different. But I really think that as it develops and the economy grows and India takes it's first steps towards being a super power, it takes steps to grow in other fields too.
Tagged: Salt Lake City, Winter Olympics 2006, India