The Winter Olympics have historically been, for lack of a better word, boring. Viewership of the Winter Olympics has always been significantly lower than the Summer Olympics. The Beijing 2012 Summer Olympics was one of the most viewed events on TV in America. When the location for the 2014 Winter Olympics were announced, the biggest issue on sponsors minds were how to get teens to watch the event. More than half of American’s that watched the 2010 Winter Olympics were over 50 years old. This was a problem for Olympic sponsors such as McDonald’s and Coco-Cola who tend to market towards the younger generations. But they shouldn’t have worried. The Sochi Olympics has gotten so much online media attention in the past years, more than any sponsor could have hoped for. The downfall is that almost all of this media attention is negative.
It all started when Prime Minister Putin went on his witch-hunt against the LGBT community. If it’s one thing Americans love to do it’s focus and try to fix another nations problems. Immediately there was talk of the safety of the openly gay athletes that might or might not be attending the Games. Then there was talk of Obama specifically sending gay athletes just to piss off Russia. For a while this looked like the biggest thing to surround the Sochi Olympics. It wasn’t.
When it was announced that Beijing would hold the Summer Olympics I had my doubts. Growing up in Hong Kong and frequenting China a lot, I didn’t have a lot of hope. However, I was pleasantly surprised by what China was able to do. I had hoped it would be a similar situation in Sochi. It isn’t. The arrival of international journalists a few days ago has given us a look into the failure that is the Sochi Olympics. The hotels are unfinished and unsanitary. The stadium itself still isn’t constructed! The completely hopelessness that was surrounding the Sochi Olympics has certainly created some humorous twitter accounts (@SochiFails) and pictures. But it also makes us wonder where the hell the $51 BILLION that Russia has spent on these games has gone.
While the Sochi 2014 Olympics will be historically noted for adding 12 new events to the games and for uniting the LGBT communities around the world, unfortunately they will also be known as the biggest fail in Olympic history. Today marked the first day of the games. Hopefully soon we will know if the negative media attention surrounding the games has had an impact, either good or bad, on the viewership ratings.