It is 2018, so that means the world will come together this year for the Winter Olympics. Or at least most of the world. I am not ashamed to say that I love the Olympics, in particular the sports celebrated in the winter. Every four years I become an addict. I just can’t stop following it all during those two special weeks.
In the age of technology, I can follow every sport at every moment of the day. I switch between my television, computer and my phone. I download the latest app to keep me up-to-date at all times so that I don’t miss anything. With the Winter Olympics this year in PyeongChang, which is fourteen hours ahead from where I live, I know it won’t be easy.
If the Winter Olympics happen from February 9-25 this year, should I become nocturnal during those two weeks? For example, the opening ceremonies start at 8:00 pm local time on Friday, February 9. That’s 6:00 am in Toronto. I can start my day early for that. No problem.
But once the opening ceremonies are over I will need to go back to sleep for a while and be ready to watch the first snowboarding competition that starts (my time) at 8:00 pm on Friday night. So what if it’s only the Men’s Slopeside Qualification? I need to watch it.
The first Winter Olympics I remember well was back in 1988 when the games were hosted by the great city of Calgary, here in Canada. There were so many great moments that I recall from the Calgary games, but my favourite one was when I watched Elizabeth Manley perform the skate of her life in the women’s free skate. When she raised her arms high at the end of that long skate she knew the night was hers.
For junkies like me, it was great in 1994 that I only had to wait two years between Winter Olympics. With the six-hour time difference I watched as much as I could of the games in 1992 in the Savoy region of France, then a short time later enjoyed them again in Lillehammer, Norway.
One of my favourite Winter Olympics moments actually came on a day in the summer, when no games were happening. It was July 2, 2003. I worked at the Assignment Desk at Rogers Sportsnet at the time and was handed the job to bring in the live feed and manage the content for the announcement of the host city of the 2010 games. Vancouver was in the running, so as a national sports network we had to be ready.
The announcement happened at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Prague, Czech Republic. It came at 8:41 am local time. That means it was 2:41 am in Toronto.. I stayed at work all night. We had to be ready to watch the announcement live and be ready to bring in any relevant material.
We were a small group who worked all night, and we felt elated when Vancouver was announced as the winner. The Winter Olympics were returning to Canada. It was an incredible moment.
When the Winter Olympics finally arrived in Vancouver almost seven years later it was the culmination of years of excitement for me. I watched round-the-clock coverage. The three-hour time difference didn’t bother me. Staying up a bit later was no big deal for me. I was six months pregnant at the time and wasn’t really sleeping anyway.
The Winter Olympics in PyeongChang begin in just 37 days. I am very excited. I will watch as much of the competition that I can on TV, read about it on the internet and follow on social media. And for those of you who live in Toronto, you may not see me for a couple of weeks in February. Unless of course you are an Olympics addict too and will also become nocturnal. In that case, come watch with me.