Death at Sochi: Time to Give it a Rest?


I thought maybe I was the only one who was getting a little annoyed by this, but apparently not:

Nate Carlisle, a reporter at the Salt Lake Tribune, the hometown paper of many ski and snowboard athletes, has been running a spreadsheet calculating the number of stories featuring competitors’ dead relatives. Through Saturday, Carlisle found, there had been 25 such stories, an average of nearly three per day. On Sunday night the death preoccupation continued when NBC’s Christin Cooper prodded Bode Miller, after he won bronze in the Super-G, on the loss of his brother, prompting the skier to fall to the ground in tears and the Twittersphere to light up.

Carlisle’s spreadsheet is here. He’s now up to 29, and that’s not even counting all the tearjerking stories that stop short of death (Alex Bilodeau’s brother with cerebral palsy, for example). I get that this stuff might appeal more to other people than it does to me, but come on. Enough’s enough. We shouldn’t pretend that tragedy and pain are what motivate most athletes, or that they somehow give athletic accomplishments more depth and meaning. There are plenty of other ways to humanize the winners and losers at Sochi.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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