SUMMER OR WINTER
When I watch the Summer Olympics, I know I'm seeing the world's best runners and swimmers. When I watch the Winter Games, I see a quirky collection of cult sports that almost none of us has ever tried and daredevil exhibitions none of us would want to try. The figure skaters are wonderful performers, but they belong on the sports page as much as a review of Riverdance. At least Michael Johnson didn't have to hope the judge from Belarus liked his sequined blouse.
The summer games are all about excess: 2,450 athletes, 8,000 scribes, 520,000 fans (and four buses) all mixed into a rich commercial stew. You can put your arms around the Winter Games. Dwarfed by the mountains around them, they never feel self-important. These are games, mostly, men and women playing on ice and snow. The stars are as apt to be hapless ski jumpers or African cross-country skiers as gold medalists with dollars in their eyes. In winter the spirit is the thing that is big.-EM. Swift