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"Oh, who's that?" Those were the words that stung my ears during the final week of the 20th Winter Olympiad.

Sporting my homemade Apolo Ohno shirt to school, I was astonished by the lack of recognition my fellow students showed for the Olympic speed skater. "Apolo Ohno. Apolo Anton Ohno? Short-trach speed skater? No?" I asked. When each query was answered with an apathetic shrug, I heaved a guttural

sigh of frustration and went on my not-so-merry way. Of the eight people who inquired about my shirt that day, only two had watched any of the Olympics with only one knowing of Ohno.

But why the sudden disinterest in an event revered worldwide? As far as I can remember, my summers and winters were filled with the idolatry of Olympic heroes. Since the '96 summer games, I was hooked. I hated gymnast Dominique Moceanu for the restraining order sh filed against her parents, yet for no apparent reason at all I loved the Aborigine runner, Cathy Freeman of Australia. I began a vigil watch on athletes, sharing their daily triumphs and tragedies.

In the 2002 Winter Olympics, I watched in horror as the paired figure skating was rigged in favor of a terrible Russian performance, stripping away Canada's chances of gold and leaving me outraged. To my relief, they later received gold when the judges were found biased. My own Olympic idol, Apolo Ohno crawled to silver after South Korea's Ahn Hyun-Soo slipped, causing a pileup and removing Ohno from the lead and gold medal contention. In the following summer games, 16-year-old U.S. gymnast, Carly Patterson triumphed over Svetlana Chorkina, the "Russian Diva," to take gold in the Women's All-Around while a Greek weight lifter received a twenty-minute standing ovation, despite his failure to medal. It's moments like this that make you jump up and down and grin until your cheeks hurt when you see their joy.

It's moments like these that leave me baffled as to why a once-every-four-years event had a smaller audience than a typical reality TV show. According to, 23.1 million viewers, compared to 17.7 million for the Olympics,



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