In Winter Olympics, Figure Skating on Thin Ice

Every four years, the Winter Olympics unite friends and loved ones in front of the television set for sixteen nights running -- or they cause non-sports lovers to shake their heads in disbelief at those infected with the fortnight-and-change-long virus. For broadcasters, especially in America, the Winter Olympics have been a veritable cash cow, their steep licensing rights offset by lucrative advertising deals that capitalize on taking sports stars known only within their fields and blowing their celebrity up to global proportions.