Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What Makes the Olympics Special for Spectators? Expert Says Reasons Vary from Culture to Sports

The past couple of weeks, Central New Yorkers from all walks of life have been focused on and excited about one major world event, the Winter Olympics. 

As the Winter Olympics come to a close, now is the opportunity to ask yourselves: what is it about the Olympics that everyone loves? Jason Burns instructs a sports in American society course at Excelsior College in Albany.

“One of the biggest things about the Olympics in general is the idea that it does break down barriers. Those barriers are both on the sports’ fields themselves and in the world of cultural, economic, and political viewpoints.

Burns says sports give you a chance to look beyond what divides you and allows you to de-stress and have something in common with a person whether they are a diehard fan or not.

 “And it builds memories moving forward: pictures, moments, times to reflect on. People can get behind stories of players and teams. Many being able to relate to a situation where they had to overcome an obstacle or they’re just intrigued by a person themselves.”

The Winter Olympics also give a platform to sports you might not know a lot about. Burns says when kids see their sport in mainstream media, it can ignite a passion that encourages them to continue pursuing it.

 “We don’t want kids to be disturbed by a lack of representation in a sport. Each year more athletes are becoming the first to participate in a specific event. The passion to aspire and become the first is every bit as important as what our medal counts are. That’s growth that’s not counted in medals.”

The Winter Olympics wrap up this Sunday. You can still watch ice hockey, curling, skiing and many of your winter favorites.