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We live in an age of more. In our consumer-driven culture, when we like something, we want -- and we get -- more. You like McDonald's french fries? Don't eat a few ounces worth. Have a wheelbarrow of spuds. You like "CSI?" Here's "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: New York." Almost nothing is rationed -- except the Olympics.
Despite high ratings and avid interest, we get our winter and summer games only every four years each. Somehow, the IOC -- no paragon of purity -- has resisted the temptation to hold the games more frequently. An Olympiad -- a span of four years -- has remained true to the spirit of the ancient Greeks, who flourished without trains, planes or automobiles, cell phones or TV.
The Greeks needed the four years between games to gather competitors. We need the four years to keep the special nature of the games undiminished. When Lindsey Vonn crashes, or the Russians get outplayed by the Canadians or Evgeni Plushenko stumbles, there's no, "Just wait 'til next year."
Resisting the pressure for profit, the games still operate on an ancient calendar. The Greeks would approve.
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