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

Haida Gwaii seabird conservation highlighted at international congress

Bird Studies Canada’s David Bradley is co-convening a symposium on biosecurity for island species

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Ferry sailing delayed after divers check Northern Adventure

Divers called in to check propeller shaft, sailing to Haida Gwaii now 140 minutes behind

Haida Gwaii fishery staff gear up for marine mammal rescues

Haida fishery guardians and DFO fishery officers better equipped to rescue marine mammals

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Canada’s team chasing elusive gold medal at women’s baseball World Cup

Canada, ranked No. 2 behind Japan, opens play Wednesday against No. 10 Hong Kong

Former B.C. detective gets 20 months in jail for kissing teen witnesses

James Fisher, formerly with Vancouver police department, pleaded guilty to three charges in June

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Most Read