OUR SAY: Games a great leveller

NO matter how many times you heard Rio 2016 was going to be the death of the Olympic Games movement, or that Kitty Chiller was making sure our athletes were as pure as the white of the Olympic flag, the cauldron is lit, and competition is underway.

And I'd hazard a guess that despite what you think of sport, you'll take a cursory glance at some of the action, whether it be late at night watching the dressage, or one of the fifteen thousand times Channel 7 will replay the swimming medals.

And even as a sport fan, I wondered why I cheered on a Hungarian swimmer I'd never heard of break down a seemingly "unbeatable" world record set by someone else I'd never heard of.

The Olympics is a season worth of sport feelings condensed into two weeks, and shown on repeat until you can't help but watch. The sound of a broken leg at the gymnastics, the agony of that 10-second disqualification after four years of training. And of course, the cheering, whether internal or external, of the Aussie swim team as they stroke to the top of the world, even for only one night.

But it's more than that. If you're a solid Olympics watcher, you'll suddenly gain an enthusiasm for watching an archery contest where you don't even see the arrow fly. You'll happily sit through a game of women's volleyball where you'd steadfastly advocate that women's sport doesn't normally deserve your attention or television time. And you'll even watch two people you've never heard of compete in a game you didn't know existed.

The Olympics just might be the great leveller, because, just as it should be all year around, everyone who competes in elite sport has put in the same amount of time, effort and commitment to reach the top of their chosen field. It's a pity it takes an event of this magnitude to realise it.

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