Thursday, February 06, 2014

2014 Olympic Curling: Almost

Sure, the 2014 Winter Olympics technically start today...but not really. I'll probably watch some of the NBC coverage over the next few days, but really I'll be thinking ahead to 3 AM Monday morning. That's when NBCSN airs their first curling match. No, I won't be setting my alarm for that one...but I will be waking up for the game that starts at 5 AM Monday morning on USA Network. (The 5 AM game is the first USA match, the USA women live versus Switzerland, broadcast live.)

It used to be, the only time curling was ever televised in the United States was during the Olympics. That's changed to some extent over the past 12 months: NBCSN and Universal Sports Network have broadcast portions of the national championships, the world championships, and the Olympic trials. It's been pretty awesome. But that doesn't take away from the novelty of the wall-to-wall coverage you get with Olympic curling.

By my count, there will be a minimum of 32 curling matches televised over the next two weeks, starting on Monday, and ending on Friday 2/21 with the men's gold medal match. I am recording every single one of them, and I'll eventually watch every single one of them, too. (Well, maybe. My DVR fried before I could get around to watching all of the curling broadcasts from Vancouver.) Generally, they're airing three games per day, with "curling primetime" being the daily 5:00 to 8:00 PM time slot on CNBC. None of those CNBC games will be live, of course, but that will likely be when Olympic curling gets its best ratings. (Don't see all that many people waking up for the live broadcasts at 5 AM.)

So, I'm really excited! Can you tell I'm excited? It's going to be ALL CURLING, ALL THE TIME for the next two weeks. It doesn't even matter how well the USA does this time. ... Well, alright, it'd be nice if they did well. But given that the men's team was the very last one to qualify for the Olympics, it stands to reason they'll probably finish near the bottom in Sochi. I'd be happy if they finished the round-robin with a 3-6 record, regardless of where that puts them in the rankings (probably 8th or 9th out of 10). The women's team actually stands a chance at medaling, though. They finished 4th in the most recent world championships, and if they have their best games at the right times, they could put themselves medal contention. I think anything lower than 7th would be pretty disappointing for them. Win or lose, though, my recaps will be much more supportive than they were in 2010. (Especially now that I've met, and curled with, one of the Olympians. Go Debbie go!)

While the USA aren't medal favorites, Canada/Sweden/Great Britain will contend for gold on both the men's and women's sides. It's not out of the question, but I'd be pretty surprised if the gold medal winners came from outside of that group. Amber is a big fan of the Swedish men's team, so she'll be pulling for them. Personally, I'd like to see Jennifer Jones's Canadian women's team win gold (if the USA doesn't, of course). On the men's side...meh.

Enjoy the curling! Because that's pretty much all I'll be thinking about (and blogging about) for the next couple of weeks.

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