One of my favorite parts of the Olympic viewing experience is finding a niche sport that is fun to watch and explodes in popularity. Sure, it's one thing to watch megastars like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer or the USA basketball team. It's another thing to watch NBC's carefully manufactured primetime coverage around the same few sports every quadrennium. I'd rather watch handball, fencing, volleyball, shooting, soccer, and all those other sports that truly make the Olympics what it is.
In the Winter Olympics, the breakout cult sport over the last decade has been curling. Why? Because curling is awesome. And, as curling's popularity reached a certain level of sustainability, NBC got behind the phenomenon with extended coverage of the sport on CNBC. In fact, curling is so popular during the Winter Games, it's surprising we don't see more of it on American television during non-Olympic years. (Hint: let's see some more curling, powers that be!) But the Summer Olympics hasn't had one particular sport that has broken out of the niche sport pack... until London 2012.no comments