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Has the Digital Age Spoiled the Olympics?
By: Caitlin Quarles
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Although Tuesday evening was an amazing night for the women's gymnastics team and the United States, it was a little devastating to me. Since I bid adieu to Nastia and Shawn in 2008, I've been anticipating the 2012 London Olympics and the next time I'd get to live vicariously through petite teenagers. "Summer Olympics" and "women's gymnastics" are synonymous to me. The passion! The flips! The tears! The dedication! It's mesmerizing. It's reality television at its finest. Do you remember watching with bated breath as an injured Kerri Strug performed on the vault? Did you buy boxes of Wheaties with the entire Magnificent Seven featured prominently on the front and gaze at them while you shoveled your breakfast into your mouth? Did you go through a minor phase of persuading your parents to let you change your name to Dominique?

No? Well, I did. So needless to say, it was a little soul crushing to harmlessly, absent-mindedly Google what time the women's gymnastics would be shown here (U.S., EST) and not only NOT find the time, but stumble upon the results for the entire women's team finals. The five-hour time difference plays a part, of course, but never before have we experienced the constant updates and real-time posts in a Summer Olympics. Ideally, we wouldn't need to rely on watching the events on DVR when we got home from work, we could watch them live; but just as our forefathers who taped programs via the VCR and determinedly avoided the telephone and making small talk with anyone, other obligations pull us from viewing the events until later.

Has the era of anything and everything we could possibly want to know being available at our fingertips in the press of a button finally crossed the line? Perusing the Internet has become a minefield of potential spoilers, largely in light of the advent of Twitter and the obsession with being the “first” to post information. Debates can quickly end with a swift search of Wikipedia, and attempts at describing something to a friend can be solved by browsing Google images. This is, of course, an amazing era to live in, but some things (like the ancient tradition of the Olympic games) are better experienced when seen, not heard (or read).

Has an accidental Internet search or a social media platform ever spoiled anything for you?


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About the Author
Caitlin Quarles is the founder and owner of CEQ Consulting, a freelance editorial company based in Pennsylvania. Traveling, cheese, and dogs make her happy. Find her online here.
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