Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sat Aug 2/Sun Aug 3: Last Weekend To Plan - Surviving the Olympic Viewing Marathon

With only six days left until the Opening Ceremonies, we continue to make plans for our Olympic coverage. At the same time, NOW Sports has some tips to enhance your viewing experience.

Yesterday, we focused our discussion on when to stay awake and when to take naps during the Olympic Games. Today, we'll talk about some more strategies, activities and even food suggestions to make viewing the Beijing Olympics almost as awesome as watching the Super Bowl.

As we mentioned yesterday, the live Olympic coverage will occur in the United States at night and in the morning hours. Sleeping habits will have to change if viewers wish to catch the action live. Fans who are looking to pull off Olympic all-nighters should plan ahead on what events they plan to watch, how they'll keep themselves awake and more importantly, what food to eat.

Most people won't watch everything (though I will) and when NBC was planning their broadcast schedule, they had on their minds (besides money) the intent to give viewers as many choices as possible. Thus NBC is planning to give us 3600 hours of coverage available on television and online. NBC is also providing access to the games on your mobile phone and downloads of Olympic broadcasts will be available to those who own Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.

So the trouble for most people will be deciding what to watch. It's easy for those who just want to watch the marquee events of track and field, gymnastics and swimming. All viewers will have to do is just watch the primetime shows. Swimming and most of gymnastics will be aired live, as well as the beach volleyball gold medal games and the men's and women's marathons. But track and field fans will be disappointed with having to wait approximately 12 hours after the event has completed in Beijing to watch their favorite athletes compete. But what NBC is hoping for is that viewers will keep watching the Olympics after the United States dominates the pool live in primetime during the first week of the Games.

But outside of the marquee events that will be saved for primetime, there are tons of options for sports fans and most of those options will involve using the internet. With 2200 of the 3600 hours to be streamed online, fans of lesser-known sports like archery, badminton and table tennis, will enjoy watching those competitions online while the cable networks of NBC air the other 1400 hours of planned coverage, most of which will involve team sports like basketball, volleyball and waterpolo and semi-popular sports like rowing, equestrian and tennis.

For a description of the planned television coverage, check out this press release from NBC.
And for the latest TV listings, click here to link to the NBC Olympics website and also come back to this blog here at NOW Sports for the latest TV listings during the Olympics.

So when you figure out what to watch and when, you'll need to figure out how, and maybe even where you'll be watching the Olympics. Most sports bars will be tuned into the Olympics, especially since the networks of NBC are airing over 200 hours of coverage per day. Watching at home and hosting Olympic parties may be the best option since you can control what you want to watch and have your computer complement the coverage.

Sometimes it's nice to be doing something besides just watching the Olympics. For me, I'll be blogging to help keep me up through the wee morning hours. Completing your work or projects or maybe even cleaning the house while watching the games can help you through the less exciting sports (like race walking or equestrian). It's also nice to learn about the countries and athletes that are competing. The most fun activity to complement viewing the games is actually playing sports. Play volleyball or basketball on your backyard or driveway after or before watching the event. If your the sports-oriented kind of family, having an Olympic games yourself can be fun too.

But the Olympic Games themselves are the main focus and you can't do that (or anything really) without food. For viewing the Olympics, you mainly want finger food or something easy to snack on. Just think of it as a really long Super Bowl party with much more variety of food. Chinese food would obviously be a good choice to go with the theme of these games. Especially during the Opening Ceremonies when China's rich history and culture will be glorified, spring rolls and lo mein noodles would be great dishes to satisfy our Olympic-sized hunger.

This is also your chance to experiment (or order) food from different cultures. For example, you can try out Brazilian barbeque when they play beach volleyball matches or Korean food when South Korea takes the field in archery. Break out the Jamaican jerk chicken during the track and field relays or order some pizza before Italy goes on the pitch for their football (soccer) games. Planning out which events to watch and when can also help out plan what to eat while viewing the Games.

But don't forget that team USA will be featured every day of the games on NBC. So what better way to cheer them on than by making all-American food. Have a barbeque, make some burgers and ribs and get the buffalo wings out because the Olympics is the top sporting event and sports wouldn't be the same without the classic pub food.

NOW Sports will be helping you out by providing recipes of the day. Starting on Thursday, August 7, NOW Sports will be providing some of my favorite recipes to make, cook or even order while watching your favorite events. So remember to check that out too during the majority of the Olympics (remember I leave for college on Thursday, August 21).

So the important thing that I want you to take away from this post is to plan out your experience and watch the Olympics the way you want too. Don't be the guy or gal who ran out of beer, food or sleep by the time we get to the second week of the games, because you'll have to live with that mistake for four years.

Tomorrow we'll get back to sports news and previewing the games as it continues to inch closer to the Opening Ceremonies.

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