Michael Phelps is a tremendous athlete. Jarrod Shoemaker is also a tremendous athlete. So why is Phelps is able to compete for 8 medals and get the attention and sponsorships, while Shoemaker can win but one, and you’ve probably never heard of him or know what sport he plays. Do we really need separate medals for the 100m and 200m and 400m butterfly, and yet 2 more for the 100m and 200m freestyle, and more for the individual medley, the breaststroke, and so on. There’s one medal for running 200m. There isn’t a separate medal for running it uphill, or backwards, or with a hat on. There’s only one medal for the grueling triathalon (Shoemaker’s sport), for the entire basketball/softball/soccer tournaments, yet some sports pile them on the same people because the events simply aren’t differentiated enough.
Another gripe I have isn’t Olympic specific, but is definitely in full effect there. Some sports have weight classes, others don’t. It seems like if being bigger is an advantage, they add weight classes, but if being smaller is an advantage (e.g. gymnastics), then there are none. I’m not saying I want to watch the 300lb+ marathon, but if you want to claim you’re the best weightlifter in the world, lift the most weight, period. If you want to claim you’re the best boxer or fighter, take on all challengers or stop adding “pound for pound” disclaimers to your dubious claims.
That said, good luck to all of the athletes, especially the surprising number from Massachusetts!