Sunday, July 29, 2018

Scrutiny and Olympic Fame

Olympic fame is weird.

It's not like movie fame, or music fame, or even sports fame, if you can believe it!

Olympic fame is an explosion. No one knows who you are, then suddenly you're on the world's biggest stage. If you don't perform well, then you're just going to fade away. But if you do perform up to standards - and even win a gold medal - the spotlight shines brightly on you. You're only known for one thing, and you need to have the stamina and personality to handle all the media attention.

The USOC is always trekking out their top athletes for various events because they're hoping to raise the funds needed to support all their athletes. (Our government does not support Team USA with any funds, unlike many countries.) NBC will plaster an Olympian's face all over their advertising and stick a camera in their face when they compete in order to get more viewers. And sometimes, the spotlight can get pretty hot.

This week at the US Swimming National Championships, two women swam that have dealt with depression and anxiety after their Olympic performances. Allison Schmitt finished second in two races and is headed for the Pan Pacific Games after dealing with years of anxiety and depression. She has been outspoken about her illness. Missy Franklin, gold medalist in London, competed in the 100m and 200m backstroke, but only finished 17th and 19th. She has also been battling depression.

Simone Biles, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the gymnastics all-around, competed on Saturday night for the first time since the Olympics and won the competition in Columbus. But that doesn't mean the journey came easy for her. On Friday night she tweeted

It takes a lot of stamina for an Olympian to endure a quadrennial. Some make it look easy, but it is definitely a struggle that's easier to see nowadays.

I've been reading two books about past Olympics: The Games by David Goldblatt and Fire on the Track by Roseanne Montillo. The struggles with enduring popularity and media scrutiny have existed since the beginning of Olympic coverage. Women weren't even taken seriously as athletes until after World War II. Most female track athletes were declared "unfeminine" by the press while their teammates in swimming and diving were adored for their grace and beauty. Can you imagine working hard in your craft only to be dismissed by those that are supposed to promote you?

We as hardened Olympic fans can do more to help those athletes as they work hard between Olympics. We can go out and see them compete. We can watch their events if they're aired on television. If they do meet and greets we can show them our appreciation. If we follow on social media we don't demand that they do more for us. If negative reports surface by the regular media or social media, we can do our homework and see if those reports are telling the truth.

Getting angry and overly critical of our Olympians doesn't fix anything. If you're angry and overly critical of someone you love, they are probably going to have a negative reaction. Olympians are people - even though the USOC and NBC seemingly parade them out like dolls to get money and viewers. Don't forget that!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

Well I had some time to look at some reviews of CoSport...and they weren't great. I need to take online reviews with a grain of salt - positive experiences usually don't warrant a post on the Internet - but the reviews I read said a bit about CoSport's policy. Some families' event tickets weren't together. Tickets needed to be picked up in the host city and couldn't be mailed. There are quite a few posts on TripAdvisor simply titled "CoSport Sucks."

People's experiences with CoSport's customer service seems to be pretty negative, too, which is the part that grates on me the most. Companies that give customers the runaround are the absolute worst. (I speak as someone having major issues with Comcast/Xfinity right now.)

Fortunately, I did come across Ken Hanscom, a writer and pretty knowledgeable person when it comes to Olympic ticketing. I read his article about purchasing tickets for PyeongChang and learned quite a lot. I don't have to go through CoSport and can purchase directly through the organizers if I wanted - and I wouldn't get the upcharge! As a result, I'm leaning more towards the a la carte vacation plan.

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

One word: ski ballet.


Mini Blurbs

  • Even though I had faculty meetings and watched some tech webinars to get me ready for the school year, I still had time to watch a lot of sports. This week's BlurbWatch:
    • Track and Field
    • Fencing
    • Rugby
    • Swimming
    • Gymnastics
  • The Rugby World Cup Sevens took place last weekend in San Francisco, and I really, really need to watch more rugby. I enjoy it so much when I watch it!
  • The US Swimming National Championships not only determine who would attend the Pan Pacific Championships in two weeks, but also next year's World Championships. Not really sure why. 
  • Even though the TYR Pro Swim Series showcases a lot of the greatest swimmers in the US, it doesn't show all of them. Chase Kalisz and Zane Grothe looked like locks in their events, but Kalisz finished sixth in the 200m butterfly and Grothe finished third in the 1500m freestyle. Later in the meet each won a different event, but the talent pool in the US runs very deep, and you can't determine the elite athletes by one set of swim meets alone!
  • One thing you can count on: Katie Ledecky is going to win a bunch. She won three national championships this weekend. 
  • One of the major senior competitions in gymnastics took place in Columbus, Ohio at the US Classic, and Simone Biles took the win with almost two whole points separating her from the rest of the competitors, which included current world champion Morgan Hurd. Biles did a dismount several times that looks more like a tumbling roll than anything else, and it was pretty awesome!
  • By the way, you don't realize how hard the wolf turn is until you've seen it done badly. Which I did last night. 
  • Still trying to get into fencing. Still trying to understand it. I'm really trying, guys. 
  • Last Sunday was the second day of the Diamond League: London. We're nearing the end of the Diamond League, and it's clear that track and field athletes have ups and downs through the season, too. Katerina Stefanidi started her season of pole vault badly but has surged back as of late. Mutaz Barshim looked unbeatable in the high jump, but then got injured and now is out for the rest of the season after surgery. That's just the way of the season!
  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a British heptathlete, but she is very good at field events and actually competed in long jump and high jump in the Diamond League event over the weekend. She got fifth place in the long jump and ninth in the high jump. 
  • I adore when London hosts track and field; they have an awesome camera angle for track events because they put a cameraman on a four-wheeler and drive him in the outside lanes!
  • Something that might cause jumpers some consternation is the fact that London raised the platform for the long jump and triple jump. I'm sure athletes have to deal with various types of tracks, but it seemed very tight!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tokyo2020: Two Years to Go

Two years can seem like an incredibly long time.

Two years can also seem like the blink of an eye.

For me, looking into the horizon at the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in two years, I am full of

PANIC!

Panic because there's so much to do.

I like to make lists, and my list for my trip to Japan is very, very long. To make matters worse, I can't start to make plans until the schedules have been set and the reservation windows open, and I don't know when that is going to happen! Nothing can quite beat the fear that I'm going to be doing something else, then return to find out that not only the reservations opened, but they sold out before I could get there. It's full-on FOMO.

Here's a snippet of my list:

  • airline reservations
  • hotel reservations (or AirBNB)
  • make a list of tourist locations to visit (probably save Tokyo Disneyland for another trip)
  • find all the best ramen shops and mark them on GoogleMaps
  • figure out how I'm going to get around Tokyo while not understanding any Japanese kanji
  • buy tickets for all the Olympic events I want to see
    • top priority events first (track and field, swimming)
    • lower priority events later
  • learn some spoken Japanese!!
One of the biggest puzzle pieces was laid today, with the release of the tentative schedule for the Olympics. It's not a detailed list, but shows when events will be held over the seventeen days of competition. 

Using this, I highlighted a few things I think I might enjoy. Now I only highlighted everything that interested me - this is definitely not a finalized list. I'll wait till specific swimming and athletics events are set, and then I can narrow it down even more. 


Things to take away:
  • I would love to go to the Opening Ceremony, but I'm not counting on it. I will do everything in my power to try to get there!
  • Archery has turned into a must-watch for me, as has rowing. I want to see medal events for these. 
  • Marathon, triathlon, cycling, and race walk have free events that take place on the streets of Tokyo. I'll need to take note as I'm planning my accommodations so I am nearby or can get to the courses easily. 
  • A few events would be nice to watch, but I can watch qualification or preliminary rounds and not be upset. Those would include 3x3 basketball, softball, tennis, table tennis, and volleyball. 
  • Softball and baseball stadiums are kind of far away -  not sure if I'll be able to see those because of the distance. 
  • Some people might want to attend gymnastics all-around events. Personally, I'd rather enjoy the event finals! Trampoline gymnastics is also on the radar. 
  • All those cool mixed gender relays have a high priority as well. 
You'll notice that the "aquatics" (swimming) events have dashes on them - the swimming events were not finalized because NBC was asking (demanding?) for morning finals in swimming, like they had back in Beijing 2008. Japan would prefer to keep those finals in the evening, but later on Thursday it was reported that morning event finals for swimming are probably going to happen. It still hasn't been placed on the official schedule yet.
While finding the event list online, I stumbled across the Tokyo 2020 Guidebook, which breaks down which sports will be at these Olympics, and where they're located. I found this especially helpful.



I highlighted venues that I might want to visit, and found a nice box where I would want to start my accommodation search. There's probably a few hundred hotels and AirBNB accommodations in that box - or so I hope! As soon as I can research more extensively, I will. 

I could make my planning much easier by going with a travel company like CoSport, but I would forfeit a lot of money in order to do that. With my finances, it might be a better idea to deal with the headaches of planning than fork over more money. On the other hand, a CoSport deal might provide me with accommodations and transportation where I want to be, in a city with which I am not familiar! I wish I could get more information about this other than the positive testemonials that CoSport provides. 

An Olympic-sized challenge I have been working on for a few months already is money. My kids always read Time For Kids as their weekly current events spotlight, and in one of their money issue they had a nice article (meant for kids, natch) about setting money aside for big purchases or trips. I liked it so much, I told the kids that I'd tape it to my bathroom mirror and follow it while I saved for Tokyo.

And I did!


I've been setting money aside, but it actually is serving two purposes: my big trip, and graduate school. I think most of it will end up going to school, but I'll still be using some for the Olympics; I don't want to rely too much on credit cards when I'm making all my reservations!

The Olympic news is just going to keep on coming. On Sunday, the names of the Tokyo Olympic mascots were announced: Miraitowa and Someity. "Miraitowa" combines two words that mean "future" and "eternity," while "Someity" is the name of of a variety of cherry blossom (she's pink, by the way) and they actually reference the fact that it sounds like "so mighty" in English!


Watching the little introduction video above made everything a little more real for me. When I go, I will see these mascots all over the place! I've always enjoyed the Olympic mascots, and I'm glad I like these guys. I wouldn't call them "cute," but they reflect that Japanese anime culture very well. 

(I had to laugh when the blue-clad Miraitowa was revealed to be a speedster. Paint him all blue and he's Sonic the Hedgehog!)

Everything is going to be coming at a rapid pace in the next 24 months, and I'll keep you informed as best I can! If you hear about any important Olympic information and feel the need to share it with me, you can contact me via Twitter and Facebook or leave me a comment on this website! I'm excited to share all this planning and excitement as we plunge toward Tokyo!


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Stay Connected to Olympians!

Every month that we're in school, my students watch a Christian show called Kids Connection. It's a ten-minute program that shows kids from all over the world doing things to "stay connected to Jesus" (that's the tagline of the show). By watching these other groups of kids, my students are getting connected to a global network of kids and understanding that people from all over the world do the same things they do!

The global reach of the Olympics is strong for about one month every two years, but it's staying connected that is the the true challenge. I've written about it before - I know. But over the past few months I've discovered even more ways that sports federations, athletes, and even the IOC are maintaining a connection with Olympic fans during the quadrennial cycle.

By the way, I love that name: quadrennial.

Social media is the #1 way that we are able to stay connected. Not only can you follow your favorite athlete, but you also can follow your favorite sport, favorite event, or even favorite venue. By following the Diamond League on Twitter, I am able to see which athletes are competing in a given event on a weekend. The International Skating Union's figure skating Instagram shows some gorgeous pictures of its skaters and stays up-to-date on events and happenings all over the world. 

My favorite way to stay connected, though, is YouTube. Watching competitions (like full badminton replays) or creating fun Olympic playlists has become a favorite thing for me to do while I prep my classroom for the upcoming school year. 

Sometimes it's just event highlights or fun little compilations. But if you sift through all of that stuff, you find some quality gems. The World Archery YouTube page just put out a cute video about South Korean Olympic gold medalist Kim Woo-jin and the "magic" of the glasses he wears while competing. They also did an informative video of the challenges of shooting arrows in changing winds. 

The IOC's media page actually does quite a nice job, as well. This week the IOC met in Lausanne, Switzerland, and held several press conferences, which were all posted on their YouTube page. One of the conferences was the one that announced the new events for the Winter Olympics of Beijing 2022, and included the questions from the media (like, "why is there still no women's 4-person bobsled?"). 

It is rare to find athletes that dedicate the time and effort to having their own YouTube channel, but American gold medalist Cody Miller has crafted a solid routine of training and video making that results in some stellar vlogs! I only discovered him a few weeks ago but really enjoy all the stuff he's put out. If you are looking to perfect your swimming training, Miller's videos are a must-watch. 

If you have any form of social media, it doesn't take much to search and discover new ways to follow your favorite athlete, event, or sport. You probably already do it for a professional sports team; why not for the Olympics, too?

Tokyo 2020 Prep

I'm going to save this for Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

I didn't mention the Olympic Channel in my main Blurb because they mainly discuss historical topics and technical videos, but it's definitely a channel I watch on a regular basis! 

This week's video is about the evolution of Japanese swimming - especially in the 1930s as Japan became more involved in worldwide sports like the Olympics. With Tokyo 2020 coming up, it might be important to remember some of the names mentioned, because they're bound to come up in the next couple of years for one reason or another:


Mini Blurbs
  • This week's BlurbWatch:
    • track and field
    • badminton
    • rowing
    • archery
  • I made a little mistake last week when I mentioned that the US National Championships were going on in rowing. Actually, it was the US Club National Championships. The "Masters" National Championships are taking place in August. 
  • Regardless, it was interesting to see the levels of ability amongst those club teams. Usually there was one dominant team in the field, followed by three or four average teams. 
  • I did mention above that there were seven new events announced for the next Winter Olympics. This is the earliest they ever announced new events, and the most exciting part of it was that there are four new mixed gender events taking place: snowboard cross, ski jumping, freestyle ski aerials, and short track relay. (I do love my mixed gender events.) I'm especially excited about the short track relay - that's chaos in and of itself, but men and women will be on the track at the same time!
  • The biggest uproar that this news caused was that instead of moving towards women's 4-person bobsled, they added the "monobob" - which is exactly what the name entails: a one-woman bobsled event. The IOC basically is saying that it's the national teams' faults for not making it feasible to do a 4-person event for women because of lack of resources. If they want 4-person women's bobsled, they have to make it easier to access. 
  • The IOC also put the pressure on the women's Nordic combined athletes, after they again snubbed them for Olympic competition by saying the level of competition isn't up to Olympic standards yet. I find that more of a catch-22 issue. If the IOC made women's Nordic combined a priority, then the level of competition would be bound to increase. What do you think?
  • Moving away from that, the ESPYs were on Wednesday. I used to love the ESPYs, but then I realized it's more of a popularity competition than an actual recognition of prime talent. They had several Olympic-specific awards, and the men's and women's athletes of the year were both snowboarders: Shaun White and Chloe Kim. I'm not saying they didn't deserve to win, but when it's put to a popularity vote, then the people with the most fans and social media followers will probably win. 
  • The IAAF released a fascinating study this week on the biomechanics of athletics - the largest it's ever done. During last year's World Championships in London they had set up cameras all over the place and dissected each event and athlete. As a result, they found some interesting findings! You can check it out here if you're interested. If you like charts and statistics, you'll be in your own version of Disneyland!
  • Some really sad news: Sochi 2014 Bronze medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan was stabbed to death in his home country after trying to stop robbers from taking the mirrors off his Lexus. It was an absolute shock, and it was sad to read all the posts from fellow figure skaters who knew Ten, trained with him, and competed against him. There were some "thoughts and prayers" posts, but several were especially heart-wrenching, like Alex Shibutani's thread.
  • The Monaco Diamond League took place on Friday, and as I watched the men's high jump competition, I was drawn to the stands, where there were more kids in the front rows than adults! That was really cool. 
  • Is there a more unifying brotherhood or sisterhood than the pole vault competitors? I hesitate to even call them "competitors" because they're always helping each other out! They're clapping for each other, giving advice, or lending poles if they get lost at the airport.  
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo has been an amazing person to watch in the past two years. She literally fell at the finish line of the 2016 Olympics 400 meters to win gold and then faded terribly in the 2017 World Championships 400 meters to finish fourth. But this year she has been dominant in the 400 meters, clearly learning from her mistakes! She won in Monaco on Friday. 
  • The shot put competition actually took place outside the stadium, in a small patch of grass on the harbor of Monaco. Because the shot put is a relatively compact competition, it can be publicly displayed and allow fans to watch in a more intimate setting. I wish I'd been there!
  • There was an unreal world record set by Beatrice Chepkoech, shattering the 3000m steeplechase record. In an oddly-timed mention, the announcers in the Diamond League stream mentioned that the former world record holder, Ruth Jebet of Bahrain, was now under investigation for alleged doping. 
  • Russia is still banned by the IAAF from competing because of their history of doping, but in Monaco three "Authorized Neutral Athletes" (AKA Russians who haven't been caught doing in the past) won events. Danil Lysenko won men's high jump, Anzhelika Orova won the women's pole vault, and Sergey Shubenkov won the men's 110m hurdles. 
Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The United Global Experience

Here's an interesting tweet I saw today:


Today, if you weren't aware, was the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. France won, 4-2. Millions of people watched the tournament over the past month.

But really? "NOTHING IN THE WORLD is like this?"

I disagree.

I might write an Olympic blog, but even if I didn't, I feel like the Olympic Games are more of a uniting experience than the World Cup. The World Cup is one sport: soccer/football - whatever you call it. One country wins the title. And that's it! This past week there were four games: two semifinal matches, one third place match, and one final. The other three days, nothing happened.

Take a look at the Olympics. Two weeks crammed full of all kinds of sports - including football. You don't like football? Fine. Over here they're doing shooting! Over here is swimming! Over here is table tennis!

Is your team not very good at football? Not a problem - they're probably good at something else. Kenya and Ethiopia are premier long distance runners. Australia has fantastic swimmers. China is number one when it comes to divers. Brazil dominates in volleyball - beach and indoor.

Each day has so many events that it's almost impossible to watch it all - and you'll probably get sick if you try. Even when gold medal events are taking one day of rest, there's probably another sport doing their gold medal match.

I won't try to compare FIFA to the IOC - both have had issues in the past with bribery, corruption, and doping. It wouldn't be fair to say that one is "better" than the other.

I will concede that football is the most popular sport in the world. But uniting a world, in my opinion, is done the best by the Olympic Games. Any recreational sport enjoyed around the world is enjoyed in the Olympics. And while people will tune into the World Cup to watch the teams playing, people tune into the Olympics because they're invested in their athletes and their success!

What could be more unifying than that?

Tokyo 2020 Prep

I listened to this week's edition of the podcast Olympic Fever, and they talked about how many hotel rooms are needed for people working at the Olympics - and I'm not talking about the athletes! I believe they said that the IOC needs to book over 40,000 rooms for the IOC Family (including media, marketing partners, and national Olympic committees). I know Tokyo has lots of hotel rooms, but how far away will I have to stay if the 40,000 rooms closest to the venues are going to be taken by workers at the Olympics? I did experience some panic about that.

Do capsule hotels allow 2-week stays? I'd be okay with that.

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

This might be due to my recent article about the Modern Pentathlon, but I loved the channel's discussion of the Tunisian modern pentathlon team from Rome in 1960. Yes indeed, if an average Olympic viewer ever thought, "I could do this!" here is evidence that no, you actually can't:


Mini Blurbs

  • I delved deeply into YouTube's subscriptions and found a healthy share of Olympic events that offer free coverage of their events! It's obvious they're craving views and interest rather than monetary gain. If you have a specific Olympic event that you adore deeply, check out their social media and see if you can follow them during the entire Olympic quadrennial!
  • I told you my BlurbWatch would be better this week: 
    • Track and Field
    • Swimming
    • Gymnastics
    • Rowing
    • Archery
  • The Track and Field Diamond League took place in Rabat, Morocco, on Friday. I love that I'm recognizing more and more non-American athletes thanks to these events. For example, I always know to pick Colombia's Caterine Ibarguen to win the women's triple jump, and she always wears long socks - usually neon! Another athlete I recognize is Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim - an amazing high jumper. The more people I recognize, the more fun it is to see them all compete! They're not just another random person.
  • Besides the Diamond League, the first ever Athletics World Cup was held this weekend. Only eight countries entered the competition, with each country only allowed to enter one of their athletes per event. Each place gets points for their country, and whichever country gets the most points after the weekend is done wins a fancy trophy - and a TWO MILLION DOLLAR prize pot! (Some countries, like China, didn't fill in each event, but still can compete and get points.) It looks more like a collegiate competition than a meet like the Diamond League - especially because each athlete wears their country's colors rather than their sponsor uniform. It's been a blast to watch - especially because the NBC Sports Gold coverage is NOT out of NBC, but rather the British coverage. It's way, way better. 
  • Since there's only eight countries - Great Britain and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, South Africa, China, Jamaica, and the United States - there are some interesting winners. Croatia's Sandra Perkovic is the world leader in discus, but since Croatia isn't one of the countries represented, someone else is going to win!
  • They chose wisely with the eight countries, because each country managed to win at least one event! (Poland has quite the impressive track and field team!) The United States managed to walk away with the whole thing with some very strong performances by a few familiar faces (pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, shot putter Darrell Hill) and lots of new ones (shot putter Maggie Ewen, triple jumper Keturah Orji, high jumper Jeron Robinson)!
  • The US Rowing National Championships were held this weekend, and they were live streamed on YouTube. It wasn't high quality coverage, but it did have commentators. One of the rowing teams rowed out of their lane! I'm guessing it was more because of wind than bad arm rowing. 
  • Another World Cup this week was the Archery World Cup, which was in Salt Lake City. That was windy! I saw a Mexican archer trying to shoot in the compound men's team gold event, and his poor bow was swaying with the breeze! But archers learn to adapt to their surroundings - it's just a hazard of the sport. 
  • I'm still very impressed by the American archers that I see compete. They won several events in that Salt Lake City World Cup event. Archery is climbing on my list of "must see" events, especially because I'm starting to recognize more athletes from these events! 
  • The gymnastics American Classic was also held in Salt Lake City last weekend! I didn't recognize any gymnasts (the YouTube feed was basically what people saw on the JumboTron), but I'll be seeing more familiar faces with the national championships in August.
  • A bit of personal success to share: I've started running again, now that my classes are over! I'm still as slow as molasses, but I'm making the effort to get back to where I was two years ago, when I ran a half marathon. It's going to take a bit of work, and I'll need to make a more dedicated effort to run during the school year!
Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Cutting the Cord

Thanks for being flexible with my posting schedule as of late! I was attending school for the past four weeks - ten credits worth of classes crammed into a month, if you can believe it. Not only did we have 3 1/2 hour classes daily for two weeks, we had nearly the same amount of homework! Last weekend I had four long-term assignments on which to work, and I just didn't have the time or energy to work out an article.

Now that the semester is done, I can concentrate a little more on my blog. However, I do have a little obstacle to overcome that's making me a little nervous:

I am cutting my cable.

As of tomorrow (Monday, July 9) I will no longer have to pay money for television that I barely watch. Honestly, the only reason I had the cable was to get unlimited access to watch the Olympics. Last year I expanded my package in order to get the Olympic Channel - a worthwhile addition, but not enough to justify paying as much money as I am each month.

I purchased the track and field NBC Sports Gold package, which gives me commercial-free access to all the track and field events that NBC broadcasts for the entire calendar year. But how do I watch the other Olympic events?

Well, I can watch track and field live, but I'll probably be watching other stuff on delay. That's okay by me when it's not a World Championship or other major event. YouTube is actually a pretty good place for that; lots of national sports associations maintain a solid social media presence in order to attract new spectators and fans for their sports. Just a quick search for "USA Gymnastics" brought me to their page and a full event replay of the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships (rhythmic and trampoline) from yesterday, which they had streamed live.

By looking at event websites, I found a few other ways to catch Olympic sports in action. The TYR Pro Swim Series website livestreams all their events (they did it this weekend out of Columbus), and they archive former events as well.

If you have a favorite Olympic sport that you watch every four years, do a little digging, and you might find that you'll be able to watch those favorite athletes and events throughout the Olympic cycle!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

I realized this past week that my email from CoSport - the travel agency that specializes in the Olympics - had been sorted into the "Spam" folder! I rescued it and labeled it as "not Spam" for future reference.

Anyway, they sent me a draft competition schedule and a venue map and said that ticket packages would likely open up before the end of the year.

I'm still deliberating whether or not to go with this (expensive) company or forge my own way. If you have any advice (or maybe even have attended an Olympics in the past?) let me know!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

I love the "Strangest Moments" playlist, and this week's was not only strange, but pretty depressing!


Mini Blurbs

  • There wasn't much of a BlurbWatch, since the only thing I managed to watch this weekend was track and field. But there will be more in the weeks to come!
  • I caught the Peachtree Road Race 10K, which was held in Atlanta on July 4. Several Olympians were in the field, including the men's elite winner, Bernard Lagat. Stephanie Bruce took the women's event in the last 400 meters, beating Aliphine Tuliamuk in the last 400 meters of the race. (It looked like Tuliamuk was going to run away with it for much of the race!)
  • The Lausanne Diamond League was on Thursday, and there were lots of sparks. Firstly, Yomif Kejelcha, who was leading the men's 5000 meters, stumbled with about 120 meters to go and was going to fall. Out of desperation, he grabbed the shorts of his teammate Selemon Barega, causing him to swirl out of first place and allow Bahrain's Birhanu Balew to blast to the win. Kejelcha and Barega both got at it with each other at the finish line, proving that every track athlete has a short temper when the going gets rough. 
  • Noah Lyles and Michael Norman didn't disappoint their first international showdown, with both in the lead down the raceway in the men's 200 meters, and Lyles taking over with 20 meters to go. Man, I hope they can push each other to new heights in these next 2 years. 
  • It's been fun to see Sochi back in the spotlight during the men's World Cup. Apparently it got that tourism boost that it was hoping for after the 2014 Olympics and is a hotspot for visitors...in the summertime! (Remember: it was known as a beach resort back before it hosted the Winter Olympics.)

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!