Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford perform their short program in the pairs portion of the figure skating team competition at the Pyeonchang Winter Olympics Friday, February 9, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Olympics junkies in Canada keeping odd hours to catch live events

Canada has already won two gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics

Becky Marsh figures she’s slept an average of two hours a night since the Pyeongchang Olympics started.

The diehard Olympics enthusiast from Spruce Grove, Alta., watches the Games daily from the time they start airing live in late afternoon until the wee hours of the morning, when she pulls the couch right in front of the TV and turns the volume down so she doesn’t wake up her husband or three kids.

“I nap on the couch for about 10-minute periods and literally watch the Olympics all night long,” says Marsh, who works from home.

“I have not missed an event, I have not missed a medal, I have seen them all. I know the channels and I flip back and forth, back and forth, back and forth so that I do not miss one live.”

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada scores its first gold medal in PyeongChang

With Korean Standard Time over a dozen hours ahead of this country’s times zones (in Alberta, it’s a 16-hour time difference), Olympics junkies in Canada have to stay up late or get up at the crack of dawn to catch events live.

Citing data from ratings tracker Numeris, the CBC said Monday that almost two-thirds of all Canadians (65 per cent) have tuned in to CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of PyeongChang 2018, with a total of 23.4 million in Canada watching at least part of broadcasts across all English and French television network partners and digital streaming simulcasts on the CBC’s Olympics websites and its apps. The data was from Feb. 7-11.

For some, like Marsh, it’s a labour of love.

The 33-year-old says she’s watched every Games since she was a toddler and buys official Olympic clothing for her family to wear during the competition.

“It’s not the same getting it second-hand. It’s fantastic to watch them live and achieve their goals that they’ve worked so hard for,” she says, noting she played the Paralympic sport goalball for Team Canada for three years and knows the work and dedication that goes into such training.

“I think they’re amazing and I cheer like a fool, even if it’s three in the morning and I wake up my whole house, knowing that even if they’re half a world away and they can’t hear me, that I’m probably the loudest person cheering in the whole world.”

Lauren Simpson of Toronto is also a lifelong Olympics fan who has been juggling the odd Games hours with her day job and motherhood.

“It doesn’t matter the time, I watch every single event,” says the 51-year-old activities co-ordinator at a long-term care home.

“When it’s something that I love, I am more than happy and willing to wake up at whatever ridiculous time to see it live, because I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh, did you hear how this person did’ or ‘Yay, we won another medal.’ I really do prefer the experience watching it, whenever possible, live.”

On Sunday night and early Monday morning, Simpson had an added reason to tune in live: Her niece, Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., won the gold medal in the team figure skating competition.

“I’m a little bit tired but it’s an elated tired,” says Simpson, noting she functions well on four or five hours of sleep.

“It’s such a short price to pay for being proud of Canada in everything that they do and their accomplishments. When a flag gets hoisted and I see someone winning a medal and they get to stand on that podium in front of thousands in person and millions on TV, there mustn’t be a better feeling in the world.

“It does sometimes bring me to tears, just the experience of watching them take it all in.”

Shireen Jeejeebhoy of Toronto is equally enthusiastic about the Games but is feeling the fatigue, noting “the odd hours are just really confusing and tiring.”

“The weird time zone differences kind of blur all of the events together and makes it difficult to know what day you’re in,” says the 55-year-old writer and photographer.

“I set my alarm for the opening ceremony so I wouldn’t miss anything…. I tried to do that the next day, do the same thing, but it’s very, very tiring to do that.

“So instead I seem to be staying up much later, like midnight, 1 a.m.”

Still, it’s worth it, adds Jeejeebhoy: “There’s an excitement and fear and thrill about watching live TV that you don’t get watching tape-delayed or packaged.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Sailings filling up on Northern Sea Wolf

There is a strong demand for the service

New ownership group presents Mount Timothy Resort plans

‘More activity and more people on the hill means more fun’

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read