My Kids Don’t Care About the Olympics and Why I’m Coming to Terms With It

Do the Olympics have a future fanbase?

Suzie Glassman

--

Photo by Jacob Lund

“We must’ve watched Olympic diving together. It’s on now, and it’s reminding me of you,” I texted my twin brother and Olympic-watching partner of my youth. “Lol. Greg Louganis — I definitely remember that,” he responds. Louganis hit his head on the diving board in his 1988 gold medal-winning performance. It was hard to forget.

Maybe the pandemic has me longing for a simpler time, but I’ve spent many of the past nights watching the 2020 Olympics thinking about how much I loved the games as a kid. As Suni Lee tumbled her way to gold, I remembered the gymnasts of my youth. How I sat glued to the television, captivated by every twist and turn.

When the winter Olympics aired, I could tell you the difference between a double axle and a double salchow. I remember gathering with a group of young friends huddled around the television watching Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan vie for a medal.

Now, my nine-year-old daughter runs past the screen on her way to who-knows-where. I stop her. “Watch this, I say, as an athlete starts her balance beam routine.” She glances, not impressed. Her response is unfathomable to me. She’s been in gymnastics and dance since she was three.

Isn’t she inspired? Sure, I knew I’d never pull off a flawless double backflip, but seeing someone else do it made me dream of achieving unimaginable athletic feats and waving to my adoring fans. She moves on. My son doesn’t care either. It’s not for lack of interest in sports. He can tell you every NFL wide receiver in the league.

My best friend's children are the same way. This year there is more coverage than there’s ever been. But if it’s not streaming on our kids’ favorite Youtube channels or featured in their Tik Tok stream, they won’t stumble on it. And it’s not as if we never watch shows as a family. Streaming The Office and Friends got us through the darkest days of isolation. Now, we’re obsessed with Modern Family. The Olympics? They’re not having it.

It makes me wonder if their disinterest is a sign of something bigger. How can they not care?

--

--