Sunday 18 February 2018

Declan Lynch: And let the red button challenge begin

The task facing athletes is relatively simple next to that which faces those watching on TV, writes Declan Lynch

THE Olympics relies for its success on the unpopularity of many of its games. Most of us, in the normal course of our TV lives, will never have the opportunity to enjoy a bit of high-diving, or a bout of Greco-Roman wrestling, or a round of dressage.

We would not be inclined to watch archery for any length of time, and it would have to be a very, very good game of badminton to make us switch to the shuttlecocks from the Champions League -- not that we will ever be confronted with that choice.

It may be argued that certain sports are unpopular purely because they are not on television, or it may be the case that it is their unpopularity in the first place that ensures that the majority will never see them on a regular basis. But when it is all put in front of us once every four years, we can take it. And most of us end up liking it. And increasingly, we may even end up betting on it -- it may not be easy on the nerves to be backing some fellow from Belarus paddling dementedly down the rapids in a kayak in the Men's C-1 Slalom, but it is different.

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