In just more than a month’s time, athletes from all over the world will descend on Sochi (pronounced so–chee), Russia, to compete for one of the greatest prizes in sports — an Olympic gold medal. Whether it be team sports or trials of the individual, the four-year cycle of training, qualifying, training, and competing offers a chance for many under-viewed events to be broadcast on a worldwide stage, no small feat for some of these disciplines, which labor in obscurity in between Olympic broadcasts.
While most images of sports figures lean towards the lavish, with news of signing deals, bonuses, and vast sums of money, the plight of the less-visible athlete goes unnoticed and, arguably, unappreciated. Beyond the big three of televised American sports — football, basketball, and baseball — the demand for sports drops off significantly, and advertising dollars usually depart, too. Fact is, the biggest daily recognition a lot of these players can look forward to is a Wheaties box and a highlight reel on the evening news.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that — Wheaties are delicious and the news is important — but the Olympics, both summer and winter editions, provide the national viewing public with a glimpse into a world of competition that often flies under the radar. And with global cheer and the unifying spirit of competition in mind, we take a look at some of the games you should take a look at this February.