Hands up who's already found themselves sucked in? Was it the curling that did it? The figure skating? Or perhaps the ice hockey?

You flick over to a random sport you've not glimpsed for at least four years, pause a moment, watch for five minutes and the next thing you know it's two hours later and you're completely invested.

You even find yourself Googling more about the athletes you're watching.

Because, well it's the Olympics.


To me, it happens every Games. In Rio 2016 it was the pole vaulting thanks to the efforts of then relative unknown but now household name Eliza McCartney.

This weekend it was the snowboard slopestyle and the speed skating that had me glued to the screen - excitement building as our Kiwi boys held prime position then groaning as they were pipped for medals.

But a feeling of pride far outweighed any disappointment - they gave it their all and shone on a stage on which New Zealand hasn't traditionally featured.

As a Kiwi sports fan, that felt good.

A fourth or fifth in rugby or league or netball would be seen as a failure in this country, a cause for despair.

But with these Winter Olympics the general population has no real expectations (even if the athletes and their teams do) so we can just sit back, admire the athleticism and skill - and any Kiwi success is an added bonus.

And that is why I love the Olympics. It's a rare chance for the minor sports and their stars to shine, and for us to bask in their glow.

Carlos Garcia Knight and Peter Michael - names I'd never heard of a week ago - are now names I'll never forget. No medal necessary.