THE OLYMPICS: SUPER BOWL OR PRO BOWL?

Steph Curry skips Olympics

NBA MVP Curry opts out of Olympic tourney

It’s not like USA Basketball will miss a beat without him, but when two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors announced that he was going to skip the Rio Olympics to rest a sore knee, it just reinforced the belief that for many professional athletes the Olympics are more like the Pro Bowl than the Super Bowl, a nice consolation for the guys who don’t make it to the Big Dance.  The only athletes who rely on the Olympics are the ones in track & field, swimming, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, etc.  And for track athletes, at least, the irony is that they have to cover up what little sponsorship they do have when the world is finally watching.

It is kind of crazy, right?  So how’s this for a counter-intuitive “do the opposite” consideration?

Because the Olympics only comes around once every four years, and then so completely dwarf the non-Olympic year competitions in running, rather than help build up the sport, the Games actually restrict interest to their very small window.  Thus, as long as the Olympics remain at the top of running’s mountain, the sport will never experience new growth, leaving athletes with no voice, much less a financial interest in the biggest competition that defines their careers.

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NEW PR VIDEO STARS FORMER MARATHON RECORD HOLDER PATRICK MAKAU

It is no surprise that the dominance of Kenyan runners over the last twenty years has cut both ways in the sport of distance running.  While records have fallen with increasing rapidity, the marketability of the sport — and its champions  — has also fallen well behind the standard set by the slower champions of the initial running boom.  Now, perhaps belatedly, the fastest runners on the planet have begun to  acknowledge that their role must extend beyond that of simple performer and include a dash of salesman, too, in the offering of the sport to the public. Continue reading