Are you ready for post Olympic letdown? Maybe they can bring back Wide World of Sports?

Wide World of Sports (U.S. TV series)
Wide World of Sports (U.S. TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw an on-line  article addressing “Post Olympic Letdown” in the title.  I thought the reporter was addressing the wide audience of viewers, like me, who have enjoyed the Olympics and are a bit sorry to see the competition come to an end. Silly me! The article was talking about the athletes, citing past research indicating intensive exercise can be as addictive as any powerful drug, thus warning that Olympians may face withdrawal. True enough, but what about the rest of us?

I have enjoyed watching the Olympics in the evening. I have my complaints about the way some of the events were covered. I would have enjoyed seeing more in “real time” and I know I missed a great deal. But as someone who says over and over that she “hates” sports, I came to admit that I’ve been entirely too quick to paint with a broad brush here!  Whereas I heard some ardent sports enthusiasts labor over how the stories of the athletes, replete with drippy sentimentality and focus on the moms and dads in the cheering section took away from the focus on the competition and competitors, it worked for me! I was sucked in! I really enjoyed the stories of the athletes, their families, and the family sacrifices.

I was also reminded of how as a child and through much of my young adulthood  I enjoyed watching Saturday night television and ABC’s Wide World of Sports. It was a regular family event. If you also watched that show you probably remember the poor ski jumper’s catastrophic crash forever linked to the melodramatic voice over and the words “the agony of defeat” as a favorite part of the opening credits. Host Jim McKay would introduce sports from around the globe. Surfing, logger sports, curling, jai-alai and rodeo joined regular Olympic sports of figure skating, skiing, gymnastics, and track and field. Along with stories and contexts of the athletes I enjoyed a glimpse of other countries represented through international athletes. So at least at that time in my life I did enjoy sports–perhaps just from an international perspective!

I know we all root for our “home team” and watching the Olympic games I was naturally pleased when one of our athletes brought home the Gold. But truthfully I was excited for any athlete representing his or her country with a medal win. And  I can be partial to “The Star Spangled Banner” and still very much enjoy hearing National Anthems from around the world. But I have a question.

Maybe you can settle a discussion we’ve been having in our home…I tried to Google the question and came up empty handed. Was it ever true that at the awards ceremonies all three winners, Gold, Silver and Bronze, each heard their country’s anthem played? That’s how I remember it, but Jay says “no.” I have some recollection of hearing more anthems in the medal ceremonies when I was a child than I have in recent years—did I dream that?

While trying to find my answer about 1960s era Olympic award ceremonies, I came across a story that amused me and just in case you missed it, I’ll share it with you here. At a regional ski festival in Kazakhastan the crowd rose for the national anthem–only to hear the opening bars of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” blare out over the PA system.

How? What happened to the poor soul who queued up that error? I probably don’t want to know that.

I suppose we’ve gained a little evening time with the Olympics behind us. That extra time will help with a busy week! And to start the week thinking of lessons learned from the disciplined Olympians, I like this quote from William James:

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”

Getting off to a good start and breathinglighter after a restful weekend, Debra

40 thoughts on “Are you ready for post Olympic letdown? Maybe they can bring back Wide World of Sports?

  1. Great post Debra. But you’ve got me all confused. I was positive they have only ever played the anthem for the Gold medal winner but now I’m wondering if that’s right. How could you confuse that countries national anthem with Ricky Martin’s song? Things have never gone too smoothly behind the iron curtain. I will greatly miss the Olympics but it sure has been hard being a blogger over the past few weeks! xx

    1. I know what you mean, Charlie. It’s late and I’m watching the closing ceremonies…tape delayed, of course! I was just heading over to your site! I am very much behind in all my reading and will be glad to regain my evenings! 🙂 And we’ll have to see what others say about the medal ceremonies! My husband and I do not agree on this at all…I couldn’t find anything on-line to support my story! 🙂

  2. Debra, I was never sporty, but enjoyed the Olympics, it’s a class of its own! I love William James, have stolen the quote to share in my FB page. 🙂 It’s one I need to read at the moment as I embark on a personal goal.

  3. We have spent the last weeks watching all sorts of odd sports, live. It has been wonderful! the closing ceremony was woeful, but that’s really the only off note in 16 days of amazing stories.

    1. I missed so many of the “odd” sports, and that was a shame. I have always enjoyed them in the past. But even the uneven time zones I watched a few hours every day, and enjoyed each one! Now we go into withdrawal! 🙂

  4. I agree, I was thinking the same thing myself about the national anthems. I’m sure something has changed. I’ve also loved watching the Olympics and, like you, for me it’s the warm, fuzzy feeling I get when all my childhood Olympic-watching memories combine. I wonder where we’ll be when Rio starts?

    1. It’s a little hard to think about where we’ll be in four more years! I think time is moving so quickly now…but can you imagine the party Rio will put on! I think you’re right that perhaps some of the enjoyment really does come through because each of us has memories of the Olympics from the time we were so very young. I can’t think of any other international event that comes close to rivaling that level of attachment to our childhood memories. Thanks for that thought…I’d not really considered how impacting that is! 🙂

  5. Hey Debra,
    Regarding the Olympics, I’m with you as I simply enjoy watching the competition and the human interest stories. Because of the shortened version of national anthems, I can’t see playing all three anthems. Plus that would mean not only raising one flag at a time, but also a lot of time taken up by the ceremonies. Meanwhile, I did find this for you.

    1. Thank you for the smile I got while watching that poor guy tumble head over heels with his skis all askew! That was the agony of defeat, for sure. I don’t know what it is I’m recalling about hearing more anthems in the distant past…I must have dreamed that up! 🙂

      1. In terms of the agony-of-defeat guy. He never realized that he was on the clip to an American show as he learned about it when ABC approached him for an interview for an anniversary show. (well, or something like that).

  6. We loved watching the Wide World of Sports, giggling each week at the “agony of da feet!”. Chicago humor.

    Wonderful post, Debra, encapsulating much of the same feelings I’ve had over these weeks over the Olympics. I recall only the gold medalist’s national anthem being played in the past. What I do recall is that we always saw the medal ceremonies.

    FYI – NBC did do a segment on how all of the national anthems of all the countries are recorded before the Olympics. It was interesting. I think it was the London Philharmonic (???) that actually played each anthem.

    1. I’m sorry I missed the NBC story about the national anthems. I have been thinking about my question all day, and I think you’re right, Penny! We simply saw all the medal ceremonies, not just the ones “chosen” for us. So through the years I would have heard many more anthems. I went to yoga tonight and heard another small group of women discussing how they were going to miss watching the Olympics tonight! We’re all in withdrawal, I think! 🙂

  7. I don’t think time will have allowed for all 3 anthems to be played. We are going into a post Olympic fug over here – my friend rang this morning to bemoan that all we have now is “Simon Cowell on the TV and other crappy programmes.” i think if nothng else your man’s quote is very apt and shoulds teach us all to aim higher in life, if only a little bit. Loved the clip by the way.

    1. I can imagine you would really have a hard time just letting go of all the attention and excitement, Jim. I only saw a fraction of the events and I’m sorry to see them over. And you’re right, there isn’t much to watch that everyone can enjoy together. You did export Simon Cowell to the U.S. you know! He is spreading his cheer across the pond–no double entendre intended! 🙂

    1. I think I’ve figured out that what I was remembering was broader Olympic coverage of the medal ceremonies. When I was a child we saw most, if not all, of the award ceremonies. So I was able to enjoy more of the national anthems. Television is awfully poor…and the Olympics was something we could all enjoy. Just look at how many blogs were devoted to the games! Now in the U.S. we will have two months of non-stop Presidential campaigning! That’s not a happy thought! 🙂

      1. I’m afraid I mostly follow food and photography blogs.. so I didn’t see many comments on the Olympics. Mind you, my wobbly internet hasn’t allowed me to see many blogs at all.. it’s amazingly frustrating and frightening to know how addicted I am…

  8. Another great post Debra! And yes I remember watching the Olympics as a kid and being fascinated by the countries represented. We were so lucky to have been able to go and see some of the action – including some of the women runners from the likes of Saudi, Bahrain and Palestine. I was the first time the Saudis had women in the team, trust me she got a huge cheer from the crowd (me included) !!
    So now the shows over, we have a lull and it’s the para-olympics, and it’s looking like it’s the best sales ever for a para olympics which is so encouraging. And th epoliticians are back on thei rsoap boxes……. we’ll see what the real legacy is and how we cope with our withdrawl (that’s all the media have been talking about for the last few days!)
    We don’t have a TV so have been listening to the radio all day, and then watching some of the clips on the BBC’s site – which has been superb.
    Aahhhhh, back to th egarden 🙂

    1. How exciting to have been close to so many of the athletes, Claire! And it would be very lovely to cheer for the Saudi women. Imagine being those women and hearing the crowd support! From the opening ceremonies when the international teams march in, right through to the end, I was cheering everyone on. I hope they televise the para-Olympics, too. I think we need more reasons to cheer others on. So much of what we’re exposed to, even in entertainment, is so negative. Wasn’t it wonderful to have a positive focus for a couple of weeks. I think it’s the positivity we’re going to miss! 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by today, Nancy! It’s been fun thinking of Wide World of Sports an much simpler times! I think maybe we all enjoyed television when there were few options! We were all watching the same things…much like this Olympic Fever. We could actually share our enthusiasm for something positive! 🙂

  9. i, too, enjoyed watching the Olympics — except for the part where the flag was handed over to Rio. Chicago’s losing its bid on the 2016 Games still smarts a bit.
    The Wide World of Sports was one great show. There was no ESPN, so, for many of us youngsters, TWWOS introduced us to a number of sports — like the ski jump. (YIKES!) I do not recall whether all 3 anthems were played in the Award Ceremonies back then. If they did play, I’m sure they were heavily edited. I cannot imagine in, say, 1960, a network playing the USSR or East German nat’l anthem.

    1. I can understand being disappointed that Chicago missed out on the bid! I would have a better chance of getting to Chicago than Rio, too, so we all are disappointed at this point! Maybe next time! I think I’ve decided after hearing from others today that what I’m remembering is simply more coverage of all the medal ceremonies. I think I can remember some complaints beginning in the 1970s about the networks scaling down and not showing as many Gold medal winners from other countries. I think I’ve answered my own question. I’m glad I wasn’t too insistent in my little debate! 🙂

  10. Thumb twiddling is the order of the day in the Uk. And some of the paraphernalia of the last fortnight has turned up on eBay – including a scythe from the opening ceremony, I believe. I miss everyone being here. That was fun 🙂

    1. I think it must have been fun to host so many people, Kate. I regret not being more participatory when the Olympics were in Los Angeles. So much was made about how we were going to be impacted by traffic gridlock and somehow all I envisioned was chaos. I missed the whole point, and that’s a shame. If they do return while I’m physically able, ha, I won’t make that mistake again. I don’t really know why these particular events caught on so much with me, but they did. I can only imagine how quiet it must feel for you. It’s like after we’ve had house guests. I’m ready to regain my personal equilibrium, but at the same time, the house gets quiet too quickly and I need time to adjust! 🙂 Debra

  11. I’ll miss the Olympics too, but most of all I’ll miss the excitement the kids had about the various sports. It was fun to see the games through their little eyes. 🙂

    1. Isn’t that wonderful that the children really got into it! Don’t you wonder what thoughts get planted in their young and open minds! Surely there would be some lessons about taking on challenges and following dreams. How great! 🙂 Debra

  12. A fascinating take on the Olympics. I’m not sure about anthems at the Olympics but I seem to recall that in Formula 1 the anthem of the winning driver was played followed by the anthem of the winning constructor if they came from a different nation – I don’t think that happens any more (or maybe I just stop paying attention at that stage) 😉

    I agree about rooting for our home team but being pleased for any athelete that wins a medal regardless of their nationality. In the Team cycle race I would have liked our own Mark Cavendish to have been the winner but circumstances dictated that it was not to be. As a fan of the Tour de France, I was really pleased that Alexander Vinokourov should win the gold in his retirement year. I can’t remember if they played Livin’ La Vida Loca as the Kazakh rider mounted the podium 😉

    1. Hahaha! Wasn’t that a hoot to hear the opening strains of Livin’ La Vida Loca at a solemn ceremony! I just can’t imagine what fleetingly ran through their minds as they wondered what was coming next! It’s enjoyable to hear from you and I see that you are really interested in cycling. I have come away from the Olympics thinking I’ve been too narrow in defining my lack of interest in sports. It may be only due to the domination of air time given to American football, baseball and basketball. I don’t even know how to follow other sporting events at this point, but I am curious. My granddaughter is going to start playing soccer, so maybe that’s a place for me to start! Thank you for stopping by and saying hello! i hope you will again! 🙂 Debra

      1. I’m sure that the performance of the US ladies team was a great encouragement for your Granddaughter 🙂 You’ll find a fair amount of football/soccer in my blog as I support my local team.

        Best wishes,

        ps – it’s all Nancy’s fault 😉

        1. That’s great, Martin. I am going to figure out how to follow soccer so when my granddaughter begins playing for the first time this fall I won’t be clueless…like I was for four years when my son played high school football! I never could follow the ball! 🙂 D

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