Turin's Real Tourist Attraction Is Still a Shroud
If the early ratings of the Turin Olympics (or if you want to be sophisticato, Turino Torino) are any indication, that Italian city will continue to be better known for a full-body wipe of Jesus than freestyle skiing and curling competitions:
The first three days of NBC's Winter Olympics averaged 22.9 million. Though potent, that's down from 35.5 million for NBC's 2002 Salt Lake City Games and 26.4 million for CBS' 1998 Nagano Games. Coverage didn't crack the week's top 5, despite NBC's move to boost ratings by pulling commercials from the first–and least-watched–half-hour, exempting those periods from Nielsen consideration Saturday and Sunday.
Really, do the Winter Games exist for any reason anymore other than to further humiliate the Arab and Islamist worlds via exclusion (at least until Oil Wrestling becomes a winter sport)? Back during the 2004 Summer Games, I wrote an obituary for the Olympics, concluding:
The Olympics matter less because we live in a better world, one filled with innumerable options for leisure and one mostly–though by no means completely–free from the most onerous aspects of geopolitical strife. We live in a world where nations matter less than individuals, a reality that is mirrored by the increasing number of "nation-hopping" Olympians.
If this all takes away some of the luster to the medals won in Athens, that's a price even the most ardent sports fans are likely happy to pay.
And what's true of the Summer Games is quadruply true of their winter counterpart.