The Olympics have provided great entertainment and drama for many years, but in this fractured media environment it's clear these mass events are growing in importance. There's no denying the London games have had many great story lines, particularly for American fans, but I don't think that's the primary reason viewers are flocking to NBC's prime time coverage and the assorted cable networks' daytime airings.
These large-scale live (or "semi-live") events provide us a chance to share what we've seen and to connect with co-workers, family members, and friends. Whether it's social media or in-person conversations, these shared experiences are invaluable. They're part of how we bond and build a sense of community and shared interest.
It's nice to see American athletes compete at such a high level in this first week of the Games. It's even more fun to see and take part in the shared experiences they provide.