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The elite can go to the Olympics, sure, but if they also contend for titles whose outcome is determined not in a single event, but over the course of a season or a series, how can you really call the Olympics the "pinnacle of competition"? I suppose you could argue that it is the pinnacle because it is a single event. The question isn't Can you bring it over a series? Rather it is, Can you do it when it counts, when there are no do overs, no averages to make up for it? Likewise, for swimming (since it is what I know), getting into the Olympics as an American is so hard that it is the ultimate prize in a way. You get to go because you were one of the top two in the deepest swimming nation in the world. And then there is the question of exposure: for some sports the only wide coverage is that linked to the Olympics. I don't know that World Champs coverage would ever meet that, even if the Olympics were gone. So I think pinnacle can mean a lot of things: maybe it doesn't have to be "hardest."
posted by dame at 03:45 PM on June 25
It depends on the sport, THX. For swimming, the Olympics is the pinnacle of competition. It doesn't matter that Olympic Trials are actually more competitive for Americans that the actual Games; it doesn't matter what you do at World Champs: the Olympics is it. I would imagine the same is true for track and field. So, like grum said, maybe they should just keep the sports for which the Olympics is the big prize.
posted by dame at 01:58 PM on June 25
In this year's Best American Sports Writing there are two pices that touch on this: one on Mike Webster's terrible final years and another on the increase in size in the NFL. It's such a shame that situations converge so that the same thing that has brought you so far and allowed you to develop such excellence is allowed to totally destroy you, too.
posted by dame at 05:11 PM on February 02
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