Options for Watching the Olympics

During last week's episode of Olympic Fever, Alison and Jill discussed different ways to watch the Olympics from home. They then challenged the listeners to talk about how they choose to watch the Olympics.

I'm going to break down some of the methods that people take while watching the Summer Olympics, which contains many more events and sports crammed into seventeen days. This makes watching all of them incredibly difficult and exhausting! After I lay down the options, I'll let you know which way I choose to watch the Olympics.

One Sport and One Sport Only

For some, the Olympics are less about a conglomeration of events and more about one additional event in a sporting season. Consider soccer/football, tennis, or golf: these sports have almost year-long seasons, and the Olympics are just another event that's listed on the schedule. (Although I think most of those athletes would hesitate to call it "just another event.")

Fans of singular events might just tune into NBC and its online streaming just for the one sport. They get a treat: the streaming will provide almost every single match for viewers to watch. It's not just about the medal rounds, but also about everything that leads up to it.

A tournament is about a storyline for these fans, and it starts on the first day of competition.

One Athlete

In 2008, the world was entranced by Michael Phelps and his quest to win eight gold medals in one Olympics. In 2016, everyone wanted to watch all of Simone Biles' routines. NBC lives for these athletes, and will do all they can to tilt the coverage in their direction when it comes to the main feed.

However, maybe a family of an athlete couldn't afford to attend the Olympics and needs to watch from home. Maybe a school has been in contact with an Olympian and wants to see them in action.

The live streaming won't always pinpoint one specific athlete, but it at least gives people a chance to see much more than just the elite athletes.

One Country

Last year my students did a Country Competition. Each one chose a country and got points if the country won medals. It's easy to say that they were very interested in watching their own country's athletes playing compared to a generic event that was being shown.

For immigrants of different countries, the Olympics are a great chance for them to appreciate the home of their birth, even if they aren't there anymore. We in the United States are spoiled when it comes to coverage, and don't always realize the importance of the streaming coverage to people not from the US.

Gimme the Best

For a lot of people, they will just tune into the most interesting events of the day. Whatever gets promoted, they will watch. They might miss the smaller stories, but they don't really care. The Olympics are on, and they like to watch the big stuff. They scoff at events like trampoline gymnastics, equestrian, and racewalking. It's high profile events or nothing.


What's on? Skeet shooting? I'm watching it.

What's on? Early rounds of badminton? I'm watching it.

What's on? Women's heptathlon events? I'm watching it.

Get the picture? There is definitely FOMO going on when it comes to these viewers. They want to see the nobody pull the upset, or the smaller seed take the victory, if only just to tell people, "I saw it!"

Experience Matters

Many viewers have participated in at least one of the sports featured at the Olympics. Ever ridden a horse? Ever played table tennis in your friend's basement? Ever shot a basketball or ran at any distance? Well, then you qualify!

It is always easier to marvel at the prowess of Olympic athletes when you know how hard it is to do the sport. Those that have never tried the sport might scoff and say, "I could do that!" But those who have tried can salute those who put so much time and energy into their sport. This isn't recreation for Olympians - it's a livelihood.

What Do I Do?

I am definitely in the "Gimme EVERYTHING" camp. I have gotten ill twice because I have lost sleep during the Olympics. (To be fair, those were both during the Winter Olympics and I was teaching at the same time. Olympics in the summer are much easier to manage.)

While I always make sure to highlight certain major events, my television or computer or phone (or all three at the same time) always has something on. I really don't care if I am watching the Netherlands take on Indonesia in handball. If that's what's on, that is what I'm watching.

However, things do change once Track and Field begins. While I will still watch other sports, I usually spend all of that second week watching the morning and evening sessions in the stadium. If the live stream shows the entire shot put competition, then I am going to put up my feat and grab my popcorn to watch the whole thing!

(But when there aren't any sessions going on, I go back to other events.)

There are specific sports I only watch if I'm desperate: soccer/football and basketball. While I enjoy those sports, I try to give love to the events that don't always get the appreciation when it's not Olympics time.

So what will you do next year? Do any of these fan types speak to you? Are you a general mix of everything? Reply here, or tell the ladies at Olympic Fever what you think!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

Honestly, the Olympic Channel content has slowed down as of late. I guess the video of choice is their compilation of Simone Biles' 2016 gymnastics routines. Here's hoping the summer will bring some more great content!

Tokyo 2020 Prep

We have a schedule! Click on the day and the event and it will list when everything is.

For me, this makes me wonder about the volunteer timetable. I have not heard anything about volunteers since they announced the names of the groups, and I haven't heard anyone else talking, either. Right now, the Tokyo committee is getting ready to start ticket lotteries for Japanese residents, which starts this week. I'm sure after this, they'll get back to the volunteer plans.

For fans outside the US, we need to work with authorized ticket sellers to get our tickets.

Mini Blurbs

  • The outdoor track and field season is now in full swing in the US, with the Penn Relays and Drake Relays taking place this weekend. Athletes were either in sunny, yet windy Philadelphia, or in frigid, wet Des Moines. I must say that watching both back-to-back on Saturday was amusing. There is definitely a difference in atmosphere between the eastern and midwest regions. In the east, there were lots of people coordinating with a tighter vibe. Head over to the midwest, and it's far more relaxed - almost like a high school meet!
  • There is more field coverage of the Drake Relays, and it is awesome to watch the men's shot put competition. That's not only because Ryan Crouser is competing, but also because the competition mixed in Paralympians as well! 
  • John Schuster and Cory Christensen won the bronze at the World Mixed Curling Championships this week! There is still another few weeks of curling to go, so the ice never melts, I guess.
  • Sunday is the London Marathon, which is actually two weeks after the Boston Marathon this year. I believe last year it was within seven days. Mo Farah is back on the road course, trying to win with an elite field coming after him!
  • Speaking of marathons, I was blown away watching the Boston Marathon women's wheelchair. Manuela Schar of Switzerland took the victory, which wasn't surprising. What was surprising was that at one point in the race, she was exactly two minutes behind the men's wheelchair leader. But you also needed to take into account that the women's race started two minutes after the men. So she was going the same pace as the men's leader! That is certainly something to admire.
  • Another Olympic Fever plug: I will be on this week's show discussing their Book Club selection, The Second Mark by Joy Goodwin! Have you read it? It's a fascinating read!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????


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!


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