Inspired by @aus10 . Though I have only a few points, I think they are important.
  1. The olympics bring people together who would otherwise be kept apart by their governments.
  2. Universities award young people (such as my cousin) scholarships for things like track and field which don't always have a strong fan base.
    This is because of the olympics.
  3. Young people need strong role models other than actors and musicians, and swimmers and gymnasts, etc. provide them.