629 The Olympics

Simon and Todd discuss their views about the winter olympics.

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Todd: Hey, Simon, we're talking about the Olympics. Do you think the olympics still have their core meaning, or do you think the Olympics now are two commericalized and two much big money?

Simon: Well, I, you know, I would hate to sit on the fence on this one cause I am sitting on the fence but I think both. Yeah, it's far too corporate. It's way too corporate, too much media attention, too many sponsors, too much corruption, but I mean, I think you know, when you look at the athletes during the opening ceremony and you see the actual sports, that they're doing the same thing that they were many years ago and you can see the joy on their faces and even people who are not famous, you know having their time in the sun or in the snow in this case, you know, really enjoying it and being the best at what they do, so yeah. The answer is both.

Todd: OK, if you could change on thing to improve the olympics, what would you change?

Simon: What would I change if I could improve the olympics? Well, I think, yeah, I would just change the influence that governments and sponsorship have and I'd probably give the olympics a more organic feel, rather than, cause you know, the United States would get it every second or third time just because of all the corporate sponsorship and all the TV money.

Todd: Right, right. Yeah, actually if I could change on thing, I think I would move some of the summer sports to the winter sports, like for example basketball. Like why can't they play basketball in the winter, or a lot of these indoor sports, the fact that their indoor, you don't have to do it because it's on ice or snow, and like you said earlier, then maybe you can get more countries involved

Simon: Right. That's a good point actually.

Todd: Right, because does it have to be on snow or ice, but yeah.

Simon: Well, a lot of sports, I can think of basketball, soccer, American football, they're all played in the winter time in most countries.

Todd: Sure. Right. Right. So actually, the opympics are here. How much time do you think you'll spend watching the Olymics on TV?

Simon: Oh, probably about a couple of hours a week. Maybe three or four hours a week at most.

Todd: Right. Yeah, I'm going to try to catch the skiing. I like to watch the skiing and the hockey of course.

Simon: Yeah, I don't know what I'll watch but I'll just turn the TV on and find out how my country is, the players are doing.

Todd: Well, let's get the hockey schedule and go and watch some hockey down at the club.

Simon: OK, let's do it.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


Do you think the Olympics has become too commercialized?

A holiday or event becomes too 'commercialized' when it becomes all about advertising and making money. Notice the following:

  1. New Year's celebrations are so commercialized now.
  2. When I first started shopping here, nobody knew about it. Now it's very commercialized.

big money

With too much media attention and too many sponsors, Olympics has become big money.

'Big money' refers to a lot of money or something that can make you a lot of money. Notice the following:

  1. It's sad that their company is motivated by big money now.
  2. Valentine's Day is no longer a holiday of love. It's about big money.

sit on the fence

I would hate to sit on the fence on this one because I'm sitting on the fence but I do think so.

If you 'sit on the fence' about an issue, you don't know how you feel about it. You could agree with both sides. Notice the following:

  1. He always tries to sit on the fence until he hears other opinions.
  2. This is not a situation where you can just sit on the fence. We need you to make a decision.


Although there is corruption and all that in the Olympics, it's something we always enjoy watching.

'Corruption' refers to the dishonesty that exists in the ways people win Olympic competitions. It means that methods for winning are either illegal or don't follow the rules. Notice the following:

  1. There is so much corruption in politics now that it's hard to know who to believe.
  2. There were many claims of corruption and cheating when people heard the results of the race.


If I could change the Olympics, I'd probably give it a more organic feel.

Here, 'organic' refers to something that is more natural. Simon would prefer that people win based on ability rather than the money that his country can contribute to trainers and facilities. Notice the following:

  1. Children's activities are no longer organic. All they do is play with electrical toys.
  2. The first year they had this concert it was amazing, but now it has really lost its organic feel.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
commercialized • money • the fence
corruption • organic
  1. There is a lot of within the police force in this country.
  2. I wasn't expecting this tour to be so structured. I wanted something with more of an feel.
  3. He's really sitting on with this decision. I wish he would make up his mind.
  4. Many corporations don't care about the people who work for them, they just care about the big .
  5. Christmas is just a holiday in Vietnam, because people don't celebrate it for religious reasons.