by Katy Funabashi
I’m as big of a Team USA fan as the rest of you, but I can’t help but wonder why no one seems to be watching the 2014 Sochi Games.
Sochi is nine hours ahead of us. NBC will only show events during prime time hours and the events haven’t been that exciting yet. As a result, only 31.7 million tuned in to the Opening Ceremonies Friday night, which is down from Vancouver’s 32.7 million.
The most-viewed Opening Ceremony was the one in Salt Lake City, which drew 45.6 million to their TVs in 2002.
For a tape-delayed event, though, Sochi came in second only to Lillehammer in ’94, which had 33.8 million viewers. It also doesn’t help that social media ruins everything early.
Thanks for the Spoilers, Twitter.
I’ve trained myself to quickly scroll past tweets by accounts that boast blue, yellow, black, green and red rings in their account pictures or that feature words like “#TeamUSA” and “#Sochi2014” in their 140-character messages, but I might as well just stop looking at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all together.
I probably sound like your technology-bashing, “cell-phones-ruin-your-eyes-and-give-you-cancer”-preaching grandmother when I say Twitter is ruining everything.
Yes, I could end this simple problem of mine by deleting my Twitter app until the closing ceremony on February 23 or stop following the hundreds of sports/news/Olympic accounts I obsessively follow, but I don’t want to fall off the face of the earth until then.
I need to be able to see Grumpy Cat’s tweets and keep up with the hilarious Valentine’s Day cards that have been popping up on Twitter.
I’ll just have to suck it up for a few weeks. If these were the summer games, though, I’d officially remove myself from social media on days when highly anticipated gymnastics and swimming events are set to take place.
There’s no way I’m letting someone’s tweet proclaiming their newfound love for an Olympian ruin the anticipation and surprise of watching those amazing, heart-racing events.
Summer >> Winter
The fact that I’m already comparing the Summer and Winter games is a problem.
And I accept it.
We all know the summer games are more entertaining than the winter games. The sports are better and the athletes are more decorated. We can afford to watch more events because we don’t have exams to cram for and research papers to cry over.
Injuries and More Injuries.
Yes, who could ever forget watching the dynamic Kerri Strug limp off the Olympic in the ’96 Atlanta games? (Strug injured her ankle in a winner-takes-all vaulting event against the Russian gymnastics team.)
The photograph of her coach carrying all 4-foot-8-inches of her to accept the women’s gymnastics team gold medal is one of the most iconic Olympic photographs of all time.
Injured gymnasts, like Strug and Kristen Maloney, break viewers’ hearts, especially since gymnastics is one of the most popular Olympic sports to watch.
I also can’t help but remember Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian luger from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. He lost his life in a practice run on the day of the opening ceremonies just four years ago.
A knee injury is what stopped Lindsey Vonn, alpine skier and gold medal downhill skier, from competing in Sochi. Already, Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula, two of Team USA’s best hockey players, have pulled out of the games.
Lais Souza, a 2004 and 2008 Team Brazil gymnast, switched to freestyle skiing but was injured skiing recreationally before making it to her first winter games.
Souza will not be competing in Sochi since the accident left her temporarily paralyzed.
Doctors have confidence Souza will have a speedy recovery, though, since she is young, is in excellent shape and knows what it takes to work towards a seemingly impossible goal.
Injuries have been plentiful, as have been the video coverage of them. Shout-out to auto-playing videos on Instagram for making me throw my phone away in disgust probably once a day.
I’d rather pass on seeing Olympians’ dreams be crushed as they roll down icy slopes like rag dolls.
Star Appeal is Super Low.
No Lindsey Vonn (knee injury, check), no Michael Phelps, no Ryan Lochte, no Gabby Douglas, no Usain Bolt.
The star appeal for the 2014 games is embarrassingly low. I can’t even name 10 Team USA athletes for the winter games, and I consider myself a pretty loyal fan…
’Nova Basketball is Super Hot!
On Friday, I was conflicted: opening ceremonies or basketball game? Opening ceremonies: when the world’s best athletes gather and pay homage to a host country in a breathtaking ceremony.
When the Olympic torch is finally ignited, this time after going to the North Pole (!). When the biggest sport event in history begins. Basketball game: when the Wildcats take the court against Seton Hall, ranked 13-9. Decisions, decisions…
After going through my list of pros and cons, I convinced myself the Wildcats needed my support more than Team USA. I braced myself for the freezing walk from South to the Pavilion on Friday, which actually wasn’t too bad.
The worst part about walking to the game was the slick, icy sidewalks and the shockingly long line to enter the Pavilion.
I planned on only staying at the Seton Hall game until halftime, but how could I resist missing the Wildcats face the surprisingly competitive Pirates?
I’m glad I stayed for the long-awaited Baby Shark cheer (shout-out to John Szot, best Orientation Counselor around!) and for Jay Wright’s 400th career win with the Wildcats.
There’s nothing like coming back to campus after a confusing delayed opening, turned snow day, turned power outage, turned run-for-your-life-away-from-campus, to a jam-packed home game that turned out to be a sweet, sweet victory.
Basically, I saw pictures of Team USA walking out in their Ralph Lauren outfits on Instagram hours before they were actually marching on TV.
At halftime, I was able to scroll through pictures of the Opening Ceremony, which wound up looking 50 times nicer on Instagram (#somanyfilters) than on television.
I didn’t miss anything by going to the game that I didn’t see on Instagram or Facebook the next day. So I guess I owe Twitter an apology for my previous comments…
In the end…
The summer games and basketball are more of a priority to me than the winter games, but I’m a firm believer in supporting Team USA whenever I can.
The games are always on, unless basketball, “Pretty Little Liars” or “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” are on at the same time. I’m not the only one whose heart beats a little faster when I hear the national anthem on the TV.
Though actually watching the Olympics on television has become a bit of a pasttime (in just a few years), the Olympics will never be boring in my book. *cue Papa Nichols’ (from Drake and Josh) “USA! USA!” chant*