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.
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.
Day 1: July 23
- 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
Team USA 🇺🇸 takes Game 2️⃣ of #TokyoOlympics with 1-0 shutout win over No. 3 Canada.— USA Softball Women's National Team 🇺🇸 (@USASoftballWNT) July 22, 2021
📰 RECAP » https://t.co/XQohdiuIs3
The 🔴⚪️🔵 return for Game 3️⃣ against No. 5 Mexico on Saturday, July 24 at 1:30 a.m. ET. pic.twitter.com/rpw7wqIFdK
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
Tell me you’re at the Olympics without telling me you’re at the Olympics 🤩🤩 pic.twitter.com/gYV4cRhtJ1— Krysta Palmer (@PalmerKrysta) July 19, 2021
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
- 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
- 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
Meet Adam Ondra. Adam is participating for the Czech Republic in the new Olympic sport of Sport Climbing— UNDRAFTED sports (@UndraftedMedia) July 15, 2021
Adam Started climbing at age 6; Seven-time World Cup gold medalist. He is frequently considered one of the best climbers in the world#sportclimbing #olympics @AdamOndraCZ pic.twitter.com/3XKphTyvjY
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
One of our 10 to watch in Tokyo, April Ross is hoping to bring home her first gold in beach volleyball. pic.twitter.com/PWAFq6U8To— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) July 22, 2021
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
Updates from #Tokyo2020— RAF🇷🇼 (@RwandaAthletics) July 20, 2021
👱♀️ Marthe Yankurije
They entered the Olympic Village.
🗓 : On 30th July Marthe will compete in 5000m
🗓 :on 08/08 John will compete in Full Marathon
📽:@RwandaOlympic 👏 pic.twitter.com/NkTQMmIDKy
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
Behind every success, there are is a support system cheering you on. 💪@DiverJordan, 'Team Jordan' have a message for you. ❤️#StrongerTogether@TeamUSA | @USADiving | @fina1908 pic.twitter.com/78fctYCFpe— Olympics (@Olympics) July 23, 2021
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 U.S. Women 🇺🇲 got their first look at Ariake Arena on Thursday. They will play their first Olympic match there on Sunday at 7:05 pm PT against Argentina. #GoUSA #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/B5sC1FWnpf— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) July 22, 2021
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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Austin homebuyers have been through the wringer in the past year—tales of offers well over asking price, sales in under an hour, and months-long supply chain shortages have become commonplace in the city's cutthroat housing market. So it's perhaps no surprise that many homebuyers are looking for greener pastures as they stake out large empty lots along the city's outskirts.
After casually searching for a home for years, Austin influencer and blogger Jane Ko experienced the pandemic housing surge firsthand when she found an empty lot near the airport in the summer of 2020. Stretched thin by high demand and limited supply, Austin's median home prices had already reached a then-record of $435,000 in August of that year, while new inventory grew by just 0.1% in that month.
Due to seemingly ever-increasing demand, Austin's homebuilding market has been busy—if not strained. New listings were up 6% in November 2021, while median home prices had cooled ever-so-slightly to $470,000. The area was ranked the fifth-busiest metro in the country for single-family homebuilding permits in August 2021, according to a National Association of Homebuilders report.
Austin influencer Jane Ko build a semi-custom home on an empty lot near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Jane Ko/A Taste of Koko)
"I think for those of us that have been here, we've seen prices rise in the last five years and I kind of figured if I don't buy now, then I probably won't be able to," Ko said. "I kind of stumbled upon it and I think for a lot of people that's been really the only way to find real estate since the market is so hot."
Austin's inventory has remained somewhat low, especially in the center of town, leading some to believe that homebuyers are being "priced out" by the city's limited options. Area suburbs are reflecting that—the Kyle-Buda-San Marcos region saw 2,900 new home starts from September 2020-21, more than any other Austin submarket.
But with new developments working to keep pace with demand, 2021 Austin Board of Realtors President Susan Horton told Austonia the trend just reflects customer desires.
"I don't think that folks are being pushed by any means," Horton said. "Folks that want to buy out in the rural areas are buying for personal reasons and they're buying because they want the land and privacy. Folks really, truly want to be out. If you want a big lot, it's there."
Like many homebuyers during the pandemic, Ko was happy to scrap Austin's downtown for more space. Because she works from home, she said she and many of her friends are looking for bigger homes and bigger lots in hot areas like Dripping Springs.
Ko had the option of moving into already-built homes within the neighborhood but opted for a custom-built home instead—something that Horton said is another draw for prospective homebuyers.
Austin influencer Jane Ko remodeled her kitchen after building her semi-custom home. (Jane Ko/A Taste of Koko)
Ko's kitchen remodel took months due to supply chain delays/ (Jane Ko/A Taste of Koko)
"The desire to be away from the person next door is really most of the time the deciding factor," Horton said. "And then there are those that want to have a house simply because they want to design it themselves, and so those are the aspects that make buying that raw land and building a house really important."
But building a custom home has its drawbacks. Horton said construction loans, land surveying, zoning restrictions and road access are all hoops that can be jumped through with an experienced realtor.
But even through the tedious and stalled homebuilding process, Ko said it's been worth it to create a home made just for her.
"This is a place that I'm hopefully going to stay in for a very long time," Ko said. "And I think because I do a lot of entertaining at home and shoot photos at home, it's really important that my space looks the way I want it to."
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In earlier phases of the pandemic, people took it as the perfect moment to uproot their lives to the newest boomtown. Many, particularly Californians, found a fit with Austin, enjoying the Texas weather and lower cost of living. But for some, it may only be a pitstop.
Melaku Mihret, who works remotely in Austin for a Meta office in the Bay Area, thinks some of the Californians who have moved to Texas in the pandemic may just move here temporarily, save money and then head back. Others have also speculated a possible reverse migration, but it may be too early to tell.
According to the Kinder Institute at Rice University, Texan migration to California has remained steady for years. And when it comes to Californians leaving, the institute says it's less about a pull into Texas and more of a push out of California driven by home prices.
But they're not all staying in Austin. U-Haul data shows departures from Austin were up 18% even as one-way arrivals were up 22% in 2021.
Melaku Mihret, a remote worker a Meta office in the Bay Area, is now living in Austin. (Andrea Guzman)
For Mihret, the biggest driver behind his move was the squeeze of costs in Northern California. If the cost of living wasn’t an issue, Mihret said he’d live in the Bay Area. So if Austin continues to become less and less affordable, would Californians go back?
For Mihret, not many places come close to what California offers. He points to the nature, such as the mountains and lakes, in California and the massive tech hub it is. Austin is “not even nearly close to California,” Mihret said, after acknowledging Austin's growth as an emerging tech hub.
Meanwhile others like Ian Davies, who grew up in Austin and left in 2011 when he was in high school, much prefer living in Austin.
His family had moved to Philadelphia, years passed and he eventually landed a job in financial operations at NBC Universal in Los Angeles, California. When the option of remote work during the pandemic came around, he longed to return home.
“I couldn’t wait to move back to Austin,” Davies said. “Not that I didn’t enjoy my time in LA. But LA is just a whole other beast than Austin.”
Ian Davies does remote work for NBC Universal in Downtown Austin in early January. (Andrea Guzman)
But a downside he says is it's become more expensive in the past year and half since he returned. The Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown metro area had the 12th highest change in a recent study on cost of living increases across the country. And among the nation’s top 10 tech hubs, Austin saw the largest year-over-year increase in average rent this past September, with an average of $1,647.
It's a cost of a growing city. Davies sees a positive in all the growth, as he enjoys living in a city with a diverse population, like when he was in LA.
“There’s a group of Austinites who are very against people moving here, and I’m definitely not part of that crowd. I want to share this city with other people. I think it’s awesome.”
He says he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“I hope that Austin can keep its soul and keep its weirdness. Like blues and rock and live music,” Davies said. “I haven’t seen much of that change. I hope people that move here can adapt the spirit of the past and carry that.”
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