Twelve years ago I covered the Winter Olympics in Nagano. It was exhausting – and exhilarating.
Every day, right in front of me, I got to savor the skill and the speed of the skiers and the snowboarders, the hockey players and the figure skaters. But what I remember most is the energy generated by the athletes and the audience, who seemed to feed off each other. I didn’t get to merely see it. I got to feel it – an experience shared with thousands of people from around the world, right as it happened.
So that’s why I was stunned when I called my friends back home, breathless about the drama stirring all around me, only to learn they had no idea what I was talking about. They weren’t impressed by the Nagano Olympics, or the coverage of it – take your pick. And that’s when I realized the Olympics I was experiencing had nothing to do with the one they were watching – or not watching at all. (Nagano had the lowest ratings in 30 years.)
Now, I realize TV can’t compete with being there, especially 12 time zones away. But it can come a lot closer than it usually does.