Nothing in sports has quite the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics, and while it doesn’t necessarily showcase the biggest names or the most popular sports, the Games comprise one of the most engaging events in sports. And the 2014 Sochi Games are no different.
Like every sporting event, the Olympics has its fair share of anointed athletes, comeback appearances and dark-horse contenders.
Unlike most sporting events, the Games are a chance for completely unknown athletes to make an appearance on the biggest stage.
Some of the most compelling stories this year are the big ones—Mikaela Shiffrin, the Russian hockey team. Some are much less known—Marit Bjoergen, Wang Meng. And some are just too good to be true—who isn’t rooting for the Jamaican bobsleigh team?
What makes the Olympics special is that some of the best stories don’t have anything to do with winning or losing; they’re simply feel-good sports moments.
The Games are undoubtedly heavy on sentiment, but that’s part of the appeal.
After four years of preparation and a lifetime of training in near anonymity, Olympic athletes have the chance to dominate the world arena, and that experience is unparalleled anywhere else in sports.
It’s a unique experience for the viewer too. Even watching at home, we can feel the weight of the moment.
At the end of the day, the Olympics is about coming together to celebrate sports (many of which have been happening away from the public eye for the past four years) and as unfortunate as the political scandal surrounding this year’s Games has been, that doesn’t alter the time-tested appeal of watching an athlete achieve the ultimate success on the biggest stage in the world.