As someone famous once said, “All good things must come to an end.” And so the 21st Olympiad ended with a bang last night in Vancouver, amidst a parade of maple leaves, Canadian Mounties, singers, comedians, and an impressive array of inflatable moose.
This winter Olympics also brought in a burst of ratings: according to an article in USA Today, ratings on NBC averaged 25.2 million viewers in prime time, up 20 percent from 2006. And, as is so rare nowadays, it’s one of the few television “events” where families and groups of friends gather around the television on purpose to watch a momentous event and cheer for their favorite athletes or watch the jaw-dropping moments in athletic competition.
Additional buzz and viewer engagement were generated on social media channels. These Games may also be noted for the prevalence of social media and the popularity of communicating in real-time updates/events from the Games via Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Consider these facts*:
• “The Olympic Games” Facebook page has 1,514,753 fans
• Evan Lysacek’s gold-medal skating performance has 412,822 views on YouTube
• The “Rio 2016 Olympic Games” Facebook page has 174,178 fans – and these Games aren’t for another six years!
• U.S. skier and gold medalist Lindsey Vonn’s page has 123,504 fans
• News organizations including @NBC_Sports and @SeaTimesOly (Seattle Times Olympics Twitter account) regularly tweeted live updates from the Games
• A friend of mine uploaded photos to her Facebook page of the Olympic Torch arriving in Vancouver seconds after seeing the torchbearer race through Greektown
*numbers accurate as of this posting
What’s so great about the Olympics? Plenty. It’s one of the few events where people from around the world come together to celebrate excellence in athletic competition and carry out the ideals of the Olympic spirit – mutual understanding in the spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play.
Here are a few of the staff’s favorite moments:
The events that I thought would be the most boring ended up being the ones that I couldn’t stop watching (curling & cross country skiing). That and Evan Lysacek.
The gravity-defying Shaun White.
My favorite was when the 16-year old U.S. first-time Olympic figure skater took the ice after flawless performances from the three eventual medal winners. She was relaxed, poised and exuded confidence. While she knew she couldn’t win, she skated perfectly with great command and was clearly having fun.
Bode Miller getting his focus back and having a much better Olympics than in Torino. Nice to see how maturity in one area of your life (marriage/family) can translate into maturity and success in another.
Joannie Rouchette performing and finishing her short program, in the wake of her mom’s death. She was amazing and inspiring throughout, to be able to do what she did and earn a medal.
And of course there was last night’s nail-biting gold medal hockey game. Here’s what a few Cookerly staffers thought:
Even though the U.S. lost, the men’s gold medal hockey game was a classic. Incredibly well played, great sportsmanship on both sides, and the largely Canadian crowd gave the U.S. almost as much applause at the end as they did their own team. The fact the game ended in overtime only underscored that it was an even match between two great teams. It won a lot of respect for U.S. hockey which is clearly now on par with the best in the world.
Overtime in the USA Canada Hockey game when I thought we might have a chance to win.
USA Hockey’s goal with 24.4 seconds left vs. Canada (in the gold medal game) in the third period to force overtime. Granted they lost, but the game-tying goal was incredible.