Tale Of The Tape: World Cup Vs. Olympics

FIFA President Jospeph Sepp Blatter and South Africa President Jacob Zuma present the World Cup trophy to Iker Casillas, captain of Spain, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Final match between Netherlands and Spain at Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Source: Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
South Korea's Kim Donghyeon practices during a men's Luge training session at the Sanki Sliding Centre in Rosa Khutor on February 6, 2014, on the eve of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games' opening ceremony. (Source: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Time of Year
    When it comes to the World Cup, soccer fans know that every four years when the summer rolls around its time to get out your nations colors and wear them with pride. While there are leagues that run every year no matter where in the world you are, nothing compares to the World Cup. In the realm of Soccer there is no championship to be won that comes close to a World Cup title.
    The Olympics have always been something that happens every four years but when it was decided to split the Summer and Winter Olympics to separate years, suddenly the event became a more frequent affair. The way it works out now, there is only a two year layoff between Olympics which means there is twice as much competition to root for. The Winter Olympics took place earlier this year which means that in two years there will be a brand new Summer Olympics for everyone to enjoy.
  • Buildup
    The World Cup tournament may take place at the beginning of the summer but that’s just the climax to a long journey for each participating team. Each nation begins playing in qualification matches anywhere up to three years before the actual World Cup begins. These qualification games are just as important as the games played during the World Cup and as such, are all televised and analyzed. There are a total of 208 teams that can qualify for the World Cup, with the team from the host nation getting an automatic bid. Of the 207 remaining teams in the six different FIFA confederations, there are 31 spots for them to compete for. Once all 32 places have been awarded, usually by early winter of the year before the World Cup, a draw takes place to designate which group each team will be placed in.
    It’s well known that every four summers and every four winters there will be a new Olympic Games. The competitors go through a qualification process inside each respective nation but the interest varies due to there being so many individuals competing against one another in order to represent their country. While the contests can be grueling the interest level isn’t nearly as high as with the World Cup due to the fact that Olympic athletes compete within their own nation in order to make their countries teams as opposed to the World Cup where you have to compete against other countries in order to qualify.
  • Day To Day
    Once the World Cup begins there are several matches played on a daily basis throughout the group stage. As the tournament moves into the knockout rounds the amount of teams begins to decline as they move closer towards finding a victor. Most soccer fans enjoy watching all the games regardless of who is playing, especially since each team has up to a week in-between matches. That means if you are not a big fan of soccer but still want to root on your respective country, there could be a long lapse between when you turn on the TV to watch the World Cup.
    With so many evens in each Olympics there are always several daily opportunities for someone to cheer on their country. No matter what day, time or channel you may be watching during the Olympics, there is almost always going to be someone from your country to root for. If you are lucky enough to live in a country that has both cold and warm weather then odds are you’ll have those same daily opportunities to cheer on your nation in both the winter and summer games.
  • Athlete Dedication
    While the World Cup is the mecca for any soccer player to aspire to play in, it isn’t the only thing. There are professional soccer leagues in most major countries around the world and then there are things like the Premier League and Champions League where the best teams from each of the major European leagues come together to see who is the best of the best.
    One of the unique things about the Olympics is that there are so many different events. Athletes of these events train year in and year out with only one thing in mind; competing in the Olympics. There are always qualification events to go through but at these events, the focus is always on the same end game. When it comes to training for the Olympics, so many athletes concentrate on that one goal of representing their nation on the grandest of stages.
  • Fan Support
    Soccer is one of the most globally played and popular sports that there is out there. With so many people genuinely invested into the sport, the World Cup just magnifies everything. Fans from every nation will flock to the host country for each World Cup and wear their colors proudly while TV ratings back at home in each country are always huge. When it comes to soccer, the World Cup is a month-long Super Bowl.
    It’s easy to turn on the Olympics knowing that regardless of what event may be on, you know which team (nation) you are rooting for. However, considering how many different events take place in each respective Olympics, there isn’t the same interest level for the shot put that there is for the 400-meter dash. The big events will always draw the biggest crowds but there is always a flip side that leaves some events without much of an audience.
It’s hard to truly say there is a winner and a loser as both the World Cup and the Olympics are amazingly captivating in their own ways. In this case however, judging by the criteria set in the above categories the Olympics come out on top. When you combine that throughout the Olympics there are so many different events every single day and that almost every nation has something or someone to root for every single day, not to mention that there is an Olympic Games every two years, the edge has to go to the world’s foremost sports competition.

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