Thursday, August 09, 2012

Will people remember Olympic athletes next year?

Every 4 years in the summer, we are glued to our televisions for two whole weeks, plus a few days.  No, I'm not talking about the political conventions.  Rather, I'm talking about the Summer Olympics.  Sadly, they are coming to an end this weekend.

For some people, it's the last time you pay attention to them until the next games.  Others will keep following the different sports through the seasons.

It doesn't mean that these athletes should only take our attention for one month in a 4 year period.  These people compete annually.  World Championships, in some cases, happen every 2 years.  For other events, it's an annual thing except the Olympics take place in lieu of the usual World Championship.

The World Championships might be where someone gets their big break but unless you read the sports pages or magazines, chances are you won't know about them.

Look at swimming.  Going into the Olympic Trials, I had no idea who Missy Franklin was.  Now?  You can't find anyone that doesn't know who she is.  She's the new face of USA Swimming.  She'll be that face for a while.  The question remains is: will you remember that name come time for Rio in 2016?  She plans to swim in college so she won't be plastered in magazine or television advertisements.

There are those sports, like gymnastics, where the only names that sound familiar years later are the gymnasts that brought back the gold.  It's only around the time of the games that some of them are household names.  There are names that people will never forget: Mary Lou Retton, Carly Patterson, Nastia Liuikin, and now Gabby Douglas.

With women's gymnastics, they tend to retire before they turn 20 years old.  In other cases, a few years after that.  That does not meet we should only remember their names one month every four years.

It does not have to be that way and it should not be that way.

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