By Dan Bernstein–
670TheScore.com senior columnist
(670 The Score) According to a Twitter poll conducted by ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, nearly 34 percent of the 19,000 respondents admitted that they couldn’t name a single U.S. Olympian competing in the Pyeongchang Winter Games that are opening Friday night.
Sixty percent said they could name anywhere from one to five athletes, and only six percent said they knew more than six.
That’s about right, and the point is that we’ll end up knowing who we probably should. Their respective individual successes and all the sponsorship dollars invested in them by large corporations will bring them to us one way or another, via that same Twitter feed or any of the dizzying array of broadcast platforms that will channel performances and their backstories into the larger, temporary cultural consciousness.
The Norwegians are the favorites to win most golds and most total medals, not exactly presenting a natural or buzzworthy rival. The Russians are mostly suspended for doping, the NHL players aren’t participating and the sports aren’t as accessible to us as many of the more mainstream summer counterparts. By the time we get around to remembering what exactly we’re watching amid the skeleton and biathalon and curling, training camps will be open in Mesa and Glendale.
It’s all good for those of us plenty happy with a passive position toward the outcomes for either the people involved or the nations they represent, just letting it come to us however it may and not seeking much of it out. It’s whatever kind of welcome alternative to the drab time elsewhere in the sports world and fascinating on some larger levels considering the currently bizarre climate politically.
There’s nuclear tension on the peninsula, the whipsawing of global financial markets, potential for all kinds of self-expression during the national anthem and the presence of a vice president who’s virulently hostile toward the LGBT community. Fox News executive editor John Moody seems downright afraid of the U.S. team, in fact, blasting them in a published essay as “darker, gayer, different.”
That’s enough of a hook for me.