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Tribute: The best thing about the Olympics

It has nothing do with housing

February 21, 2014
KEYWORDS Olympics
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The Olympics will end this weekend. And curling coverage on CNBC will stop for four years.

The HousingWire newsroom plays financial news on TV constantly, and so we are subjected to following certain sports from time to time.

So there is a certain type of sadness waiting for us when we get back to work on Monday. HousingWire would like to take a moment to pay homage to the Winter Olympics.

The Olympics start out with a show and a parade. Every country’s best and brightest wear their colors, and there’s always a moment of fierce pride, seeing your country’s flag waving as the athletes circle the stadium.

You recognize a few of the faces from previous Olympics, and for just a moment, seeing them stream in front of the camera, you feel part of a bigger narrative — those are your colors, your people, after all.

And, just to be clear, following this event becomes common across all newsrooms and not just in those linked to the financial markets.

 

 

A fun work day distraction?

Yes, but that’s not the best thing about the Olympics.

The games feature feats of strength and endurance that make us remember what’s possible when people focus time and energy on a single pursuit. Athletes slide down a hill at 70 mph and then soar through the air with no parachute and no net. Squads of snowboarders race over ramps of snow and bank through curves and make it look easy, even fun. Men and women skate in synchronized movements until he picks her up and slings her into the air for a triple jump. She lands on one thin blade, going backwards. And you think, what happened the first time they jumped off a ramp, or skied around that curve, or got thrown in the air?

But that’s not the best thing about the Olympics.

The network keeps a medal count that tracks which country has won the most, and in what sports. Your country is doing well, as usual. But that’s not the best thing about the Olympics.

The cameras capture anxious faces of moms, dads, siblings, coaches and friends, hopeful and expectant as they watch loved ones put everything on the line in one two-minute program, one downhill run, one hold-your-breath shot. And we watch as those same faces crumble, or resolve to be brave, or break down in tears — for joy or heartbreak.

But that’s not the best thing about the Olympics.

The closing ceremonies end with a show and a parade. You watch as the athletes file back into the stadium — they’re relaxed now, all grins and camera phones, trying to capture that moment in time before it flies into what becomes a gloried past. You look for the young girl from a country with a different flag, a country that could reasonably be called your enemy. But tonight you remember the transformative way she skated, and marvel at the fierce determination of someone so young. You feel your heart squeeze up for the handful of athletes from a small country that was always going to be the underdog. They became your favorite group to watch, even though they didn’t stand on any podiums. You feel grudging respect when you see the team that sent yours packing with an overtime goal. You revel in the accomplishments of someone you never heard of until two weeks ago, who is the most accomplished athlete in his little-known sport. You recognize all these new faces and for just a moment, seeing them stream in front of the camera, you feel part of a bigger narrative — those are your colors, your people, after all.

That’s the best thing about the Olympics.

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