Staff Editorial: Fans choose Olympic favorites based on media outlets

By Duke Staff

As the 2014 Olympic Winter games continues to captivate the world, the way in which we root for our favorite teams or athletes has changed due to media outlets’ take on the momentous events.

It’s always been an American tradition for fans to cheer for our own, and it forms an immensely powerful form of camaraderie as a country. This tradition is being challenged by individuals who have sparked enough interest as a country than would have in years prior.

Enter the underdog. The tear jerker. The golden boy. The Jamaican Bobsled Team. Bode Miller. Viktor Ahn. If you’re rooting for a name rather than a country then you’re not alone. These athletes are gaining enormous media attention due to their emotional back stories rather than the country they represent.

In the same vein, people are following their favorite stateside players to foreign lands in diehard support. Look at Pittsburgh’s own hockey team. Captain Sidney Crosby and linemate Chris Kunitz were named to Canada as Evgeni Malkin represents Russia. Along with these players, Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta take up positions for Finland. This divide in players has left many to cast aside their American stars and stripes for a  Canadian maple leaf and other European flags.

Then comes the focus of backing those not participating in the games at all. In between curling and speed skating, overwhelming coverage of world issues are being presented on the Olympic stage for those to support or refute. Pussy Riot’s public whipping, terror threats from the black-widow suicide bombers, even a shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt prevented from reaching American athletes have all generated just as much media attention as the athletes involved.

Many different outlets preach to us when, where and how to support athletes or even causes. Has the original tradition of the Olympics been completely transformed into a media stunt for hits on a page?

Looking back to ancient traditions surrounding the games, not to mention the Olympics official website, it was widely considered that all conflicts among those participating were dealt with after the games were finished, not during. This original message is an important one that news outlets, advertisement agencies and fans should keep in mind while spectating.

Whether you support a country, a team, an athlete or even a movement, at the end of the day, support and celebration should be preached, not hatred or political motives.