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An Austinite's guide to the Olympics: how to watch, who to cheer on and how to catch up

Team USA entered the opening ceremony with the second-largest group in its history on Friday morning. (Team USA/Twitter)

Even though the Olympic opening ceremony was just this morning, the long-awaited Tokyo Games are already riddled in controversy, emotional stories and outright strange occurrences.


From bears on the loose to a last-minute resignation from the Olympic creative director himself, it's hard to stay posted on an Olympics that some argue shouldn't be happening in the first place.

With over 600 Team USA athletes, 27 of which have Austin ties, and dozens of stories from those whos dreams are finally realized, there's a lot to keep up with. Here's a few tips and tricks to get you started:

How to watch

Up to 44% of U.S. households no longer have cable, and the number is growing as more households cut the cord. Unfortunately, both the Olympics and NBC rely on ad revenue from cable channels as part of their business plan. So if you have full service, just grab your remote and go!

If not, here are a few ways you could access some competitions:

  • If you're looking to go old-school, there's always the option of grabbing your grandma's old antenna or buying one yourself. With an antenna, which usually ranges in price from $10-40, you can get access to channels basic channels, including Olympics broadcaster NBC, while avoiding monthly fees. Check out tips and tricks to getting an antenna here.
  • Peacock, NBC's streaming cousin, is acting as an off-brand version of the cable channel for Olympics coverage. The app will stream five hours of coverage daily, starting with a morning show by their own hosts and ending with events including women's gymnastics and track and field. Every event will be delayed by at least 24 hours, however, and you won't be able to rewind anything unless you have a $4.99 monthly subscription. With the subscription, you'll also have on-demand live access to U.S. men's basketball events.
  • If these two don't work for you, head over to that really good friend of yours with cable. There's also always the tried-and-true trick of sharing cable usernames and passwords (you didn't hear this from us) or waiting for highlights to surface on social media or YouTube.

Austin watch parties

While many sports bars across Austin will be watching the world's games on the big screen, some are better suited than others for an immersive party experience. Here's a few suggestions we have for watching Team USA competitions:

  • Haymaker Austin is the undisputed headquarters for American Outlaws, or fans of the U.S. men's and women's soccer teams. They've already slated out a watch party for Saturday's match vs. New Zealand and are expected to open early whenever needed to watch their favorite team play. Learn more about Saturday's early-morning watch party and upcoming drink specials here.
  • Black Sheep Lodge, a sport's lover's paradise, played the Olympics all two weeks long back in 2016, and they're back with drink specials and constant streaming this go-round. Learn more here.
  • Gibson Street Bar on South Lamar was another fan favorite in 2016 and features food from trailer Luke's Inside Out parked out front.
  • Plucker's Wing Bar, with locations around Austin, told Austonia they would be playing the Olympics all two weeks long.

Schedule

Day 1: July 23

Watch the opening ceremony, Team USA star Brody Malone in the qualification rounds of men's gymnastics and the start of men's and women's swimming heats for several events.
  • Opening ceremony- 6:55 a.m.
  • Men's and Women's beach volleyball prelims- 8 p.m.
  • Men's gymnastics qualification- 9 p.m.
  • Softball opening round- 9 p.m.
  • 3x3 Basketball men's and women's pool play- 9:15 p.m.
  • Men's and women's swimming heats- 9 p.m.

Day 2: July 24

Wake up bright and early—or hit record—to see San Marcos resident and UT alum Cat Osterman with Team USA as the softball team takes on border rival Mexico and Australia. Simone Biles and Co. will also make an appearance for the women's gymnastic competition, and swimming medal rounds for today include the women's 100m butterfly final, the men's 100m breaststroke final, the women's 400m freestyle final and the men's 4 x 100m freestyle relay final.

  • Softball USA vs. Mexico- 1:30 a.m.
  • Women's beach volleyball, USA vs. China- 8 p.m.
  • Women's gymnastics qualification- 9 p.m.
  • Softball USA vs. Australia- 9 p.m.
  • Swimming finals- 9:30 p.m.

Day 3: July 25

Osterman will be back against Japan, men's basketball featuring Kevin Durant will have their debut vs. France after a rocky start and watch Austinite Alison Gibson go for the gold in the women's synchronized 3m diving competition.

  • Women's diving 3m springboard- 1 a.m.
  • Men's soccer group play-Brazil vs. Ivory Coast- 4:30 a.m.
  • Men's and Women's fencing medal rounds- 6:50 a.m.
  • Men's basketball preliminary round- USA vs. France - 8 a.m.
  • Softball opening round - USA vs. Japan - 9 p.m.

Day 4: July 26

Watch UT alums Townley Haas and Drew Kibler in the finals for the men's 200m freestyle swimming race and catch women's volleyball, including former Longhorn Chiaka Ogbogu, take on Argentina.
  • Men's synchronized diving 10m platform final- 2 a.m.
  • Men's gymnastics team final- 6 a.m.
  • Women's volleyball vs. Argentina- 9:15 p.m.
  • Swimming finals- Men's 200m freestyle, Women's 100m backstroke, Men's 100m backstroke, Women's 100m backstroke 9:30 p.m.

Day 5: July 27

Softball and Biles and crew go for the gold. Meanwhile, the women's basketball team, including UT alum Ariel Atkins, start their preliminary rounds, and Texas stars Remedy Rule and Erica Sullivan fight for the finals in swimming.

  • Softball bronze medal game- 12 a.m.
  • Women's basketball preliminary round-USA vs. Nigeria- 12:40 a.m.
  • Women's gymnastics team final- 6:45 a.m.
  • Softball gold medal game- 7 a.m.
  • Swimming finals- Women's 200m butterfly, Men's 200m butterfly, Women's 1500m freestyle, Men's 4 x 200m freestyle relay 9:40 p.m.
  • Men's and Women's cycling time trial medal rounds - 10:30 p.m.

Day 6: July 28

Men's basketball comes into play once again. Men's golf begins, including Venezuelan and Texas alum Johnnatan Vegas, and the U.S. women's water polo team gets their start.

  • Men's basketball group play-USA vs. Iran- 12:40 a.m.
  • Women's water polo-USA vs. Hungary-1 a.m.
  • Men's gymnastics individual all-around final- 6:15 a.m.
  • 3x3 basketball Men's and Women's medal matches- 7:45 a.m.
  • Men's golf round one- 6:30 p.m.
  • Swimming finals- Men's 800m freestyle, Men's 200m breaststroke, Women's 200m butterfly, Women's 4 x 200 freestyle relay - 9:30 p.m.

Day 7: July 29

Group play for women's gymnastics may be over, but individual work is where Biles truly shines. She'll be looking to make history today. Meanwhile, US women's volleyball, golf and men's water polo continue. Track and field begin, including the highly-contested women's 100m heats, which will feature Texas alum Teahna Daniels for Team USA.

  • Men's water polo group play-USA vs. Italy- 1 a.m.
  • Women's gymnastics individual all-around final- 6:40 a.m.
  • Track and field heats-Women's 800m, Men's 400m hurdles, Women's 100m- 8:50 p.m.
  • Swimming finals-Women's 200m breaststroke, Men's 200m backstroke, Women's 100m freestyle, Men's 200m individual medley- 9:30 p.m.

Day 8: July 30

U.S. men's baseball begins, the world champion USWNT looks to enter the quarterfinal rounds early in the a.m., and swimming continues, with Texas alum and history maker Joseph Schooling looking to pull off another win—like he did in 2016 over Michael Phelps—in the 100m butterfly.
  • Men's beach volleyball-USA vs Italy- 8 a.m.
  • Women's basketball-USA vs. Japan- 12:40 a.m.
  • Women's soccer quarterfinals- 4 a.m.
  • Baseball opening round- USA vs. Israel- 6:30 a.m.
  • Swimming finals- Men's 100m butterfly, Women's 200m backstroke, Women's 800m freestyle, Mixed 100m medley- 9:30 p.m.

Day 9: July 31

Things begin heating up in track and field. The women's 100m-dash, men's discus and men's 4 x 400m mixed relay see their finals today, as do men's golf and several swimming events. Meanwhile, the men's soccer quarterfinals and women's rugby sevens finals begin today as men's boxing begins to wrap up.

  • Trampoline final- 12:30 a.m
  • Men's soccer quarterfinals- 4 a.m.
  • Women's rugby sevens medal matches- 4:30 a.m.
  • Track and field finals, Men's discus, 4x400m mixed relay, Women's 100m- 7:15 a.m.
  • Men's basketball-USA vs. Czech Republic- 8 a.m.
  • Men's golf final round- 6:30 p.m.
  • Swimming finals-Men's 50m freestyle, Women's 50m freestyle, Men's 1500m freestyle, Women's 4 x 100m medley relay, Men's 4 x 100m medley relay- 9:30 p.m.
  • Men's boxing semifinals - welterweight, light heavyweight- 11 p.m.

Day 10: August 1

Biles will attempt to perform the world's most dangerous vault- the Yurchenko double pike, which has never been successfully done at the Olympics- as part of several men's and women's individual gymnastics finals. Steffin McCarter, a former UT men's long jumper, could see the finals as track and field continues, and for some old-fashioned fun, check out the men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals.

  • Gymnastics finals-Men's floor exercise, Women's vault, Men's pommel horse, Women's uneven bars- 4:30 a.m.
  • Men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals- 5:15 a.m.
  • Track and field finals-Men's high jump, Women's triple jump, Men's 100m- 6:10 a.m.
  • Men's long jump, Women's 100m hurdles, Women's discus, Men's 3000m steeplechase, Women's 5000m- 9:20 p.m.

Day 11: August 2

Gold medal rounds for badminton come into play all day, the wrestling finals end, and Team USA (hopefully) enters the quarterfinals for men's basketball. UT alum Tara Davis looks to be in the finals for women's long jump.

  • Badminton finals- 6 a.m, 12 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
  • Gymnastics finals-Men's rings, Women's floor exercise, Men's vault- 4:15 a.m.
  • Men's Greco-Roman wrestling semifinals and finals- 5:15 a.m.
  • Men's basketball quarterfinals- 9 p.m.
  • Track and field finals-Women's long jump, Men's 400m hurdles, Men's pole vault, Women's hammer throw, women's 200m- 9:50 p.m.

Day 12: August 3

Cyclers go for a gold-medal finish, women's basketball reaches the quarterfinals and track and field stars push to new heights as the men's pole vault final begins. Sport Climbing makes its debut as an Olympic sport early in the morning.

  • Sport climbing Olympic debut- 3 a.m.
  • Gymnastics finals-Men's parallel bars, Women's balance beam, Men's horizontal bar- 4 a.m.
  • Cycling finals-Women's team pursuit and Men's team sprint medal rounds- 4:15 a.m.
  • Men's pole vault finals- 5:20 a.m.
  • Women's basketball quarterfinals- 9 p.m.
  • Track and field finals- Women's 400m hurdles, Men's hammer throw, Men's 800m, Men's 20m- 10:30 p.m.

Day 13- August 4

The equestrian's individual competition, making its debut in the Olympics this year and features Bruce Springsteen's daughter Jessica Springsteen on Team USA, comes to a close. The first baseball semifinal match is held, boxing semifinals continue, and men's weightlifting comes to an end.

  • Boxing semifinals-Women's flyweight, Women's welterweight, Men's Super heavyweight- 1 a.m.
  • Baseball semifinal # 1- 6 a.m.
  • Equestrian jumping individual final- 6 a.m.
  • Men's weightlifting (+109kg) final- 6:50 a.m.
  • Track and field finals- Men's triple jump, Men's shot put, Women's pole vault, Men's 400m- 10 p.m.

Day 14: August 5

The men's basketball semifinal begins as the baseball semifinals continue. Women's beach volleyball and women's soccer see their medal matches as the USWNT fights for redemption and another gold. Karate begins its medal matches.

  • Karate semifinals, final- 5 a.m.
  • Men's basketball semifinal #1- 12:15 a.m.
  • Baseball semifinal- 6 a.m.
  • Men's basketball semifinal- 7 a.m.
  • Women's beach volleyball medal matches- 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m.
  • Women's soccer gold medal match- 10 p.m.

Day 15: August 6

The men's basketball championship match is today, alongside the semifinal matches for women's basketball. Women's field hockey and men's beach volleyball host their gold medal matches. The longest-running (get it) sport in the Olympics, the marathon, takes place for the women's competition.

  • Women's basketball semifinal #1- 12:40 a.m.
  • Women's field hockey gold medal match- 6 a.m.
  • Women's basketball semifinal #2- 7 a.m.
  • Track and field finals- Women's Javelin, Men's 5000m, Women's 400m, Women's 4 x 100m relay, Men's 4 x 100 relay - 7:50 a.m.
  • Women's marathon- 6 p.m.
  • Women's golf final round- 6:30 p.m.
  • Men's basketball gold medal game- 10:30 p.m.

Day 16: August 7

UT alum Jordan Windle hopes to see himself in the finals for the high-flying 10m platform diving competition. Men's soccer, baseball, women's basketball and mixed boxing competitions see their gold medal finals today.

  • Boxing finals- Men's flyweight, Women's flyweight, Men's middleweight, Women's welterweight - 1 a.m.
  • Men's diving 10m platform final- 2 a.m.
  • Men's baseball gold medal game- 6 a.m.
  • Track and field finals-Women's high jump, Men's Javelin, Men's 1,500m, Women's 4 x 400m, Men's 4 x 400m- 6:35 a.m.
  • Men's soccer gold medal match- 7:30 a.m.
  • Men's marathon- 6 p.m.
  • Women's basketball gold medal match- 10:30 p.m.

Day 17: August 8

The OIympics are wrapping up! Catch a last-minute volleyball, boxing or men's water polo match before the closing ceremony begins at 7 a.m.

  • Women's volleyball gold medal match- 12:30 a.m.
  • Boxing finals- Women's lightweight, Men's lightweight, Women's middleweight, Men's super heavyweight- 1:30 a.m.
  • Men's water polo gold medal match- 3:30 a.m
  • 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics closing ceremony- 7 a.m.

For a full Olympic schedule, click here.

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‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”