Q: How many people had heard of speedskating (short or long track) before the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002? Aside from the people who were actually involved in the sport, pretty much nobody. There may have been a few olympic enthusiasts who knew about Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair, but there was little to no public support or interest in the 18 years it's been part of the winter olympics.
Jump to one week before the 2002 Olympics and the network covering has sense enough to do a spot on the new olympic hottie, Apolo Ohno. Millions of teenage girls (including yours truly) see it and immediately swoon and develop a crush on the boy. They watch him skate and since short track is awesome and like nascar on ice, they are hooked (like myself.)
Since then, many (again like myself) have gotten so addicted to this sport that we've learned the rules (a huge undertaking,) kept up with Korean drama and even gone to competitions to cheer on not only our home team, but the other countries' teams. Some have even taken up the sport. One has to only look at J.R. Celski to see how Apolo has inspired a younger generation to start speedskating. And with that attention comes money. Sponsorships, ISU spending money on the championships, money to upgrade the rinks (the addition of padding at the rinks is actually fairly new), money the sport needs to stay afloat.
All because when we were 16, we saw Apolo on television and thought he was cute.
Did any of this make sense? lmao I haven't written here in FOREVER.