A simple list of ways to avoid a Sochi spoiler

Photo credit: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty

Spoilers ruin everything. How exciting is The Walking Dead when you learn that [REDACTED] has been evil the whole time? How gripping is Game of Thrones when your friend tells you that [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] are secretly in cahoots before you've had a chance to watch the season finale?

Spoilers ruin movies, TV shows, books... and this year, they might even ruin the Winter Olympics. You see, Sochi is nine hours ahead of the East coast, so like the London Games, NBC will be broadcasting the competition on a tape delay.

That means that if you just watch NBC's primetime coverage, everything you see will have already happened. And if it's already happened, that means it can be spoiled. Whether it's through tweets, news updates, or that annoying coworker who just has to tell everyone about the crazy thing that happened in the curling final… spoilers are out there. Here are four ways to avoid them:

  1. Turn your phone's push notifications off. If you're a somewhat technology-addicted person, you probably have a couple news apps on your iPhone or Android. These apps will send you 'breaking news' alerts when something they deem newsworthy happens. Normally, this is wonderful. But during the Olympics, these alerts are your enemy. You don't want to read a notification that says 'live polar bear wanders onto ski slope, wins men's downhill.' You want to see that polar bear take home the gold on your TV, without knowing anything beforehand. So for the two weeks of the Olympics, you need to turn those push notifications off. How to: If you've got an iPhone, go to Settings, then click Notification Center, and set each app to not send you alerts. Yes, you won’t get any non-Olympic news either, but that’s a small price to pay for watching the Olympics without being spoiled.
  2. SpoilerShield. If most of your interactions with other human beings happen via Twitter or Facebook, SpoilerShield is your friend. SpoilerShield is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a free app that blocks spoilers from showing up on Twitter and Facebook. There are a bunch of different 'shields'; you can block Game of Thrones spoilers, Football spoilers, and best of all, Olympic spoilers. After all, who wants to see: "whoa, the Jamaican Bobsled team won the whole thing! #BetterThanCoolRunnings" before they see the actual bobsled race? Nobody, that’s who. How to: Simply go to the app store and download the app on your phone.
  3. Actually Watch the Events Live. The only sure way to avoid spoilers is to watch the events before they can possibly be spoiled. Which means watching them live. Doing it this way does mean that you might be watching women's curling at 5 a.m., but if you’re really serious about avoiding spoilers, this is the only sure-fire way to do it. How to NBC puts up all the Sochi events on its website, and if you have either cable or a service like DirecTV, you can watch as much as you'd like. The schedule is online, and if there are certain events you really just need to see, start planning your next two weeks.
  4. Hide Under a Rock. If you just want to watch NBC's primetime coverage of the Olympics without being spoiled, if you're unable or unwilling to get up at 3 a.m. to watch two-person luge, then your best bet might be to become a recluse. Even if you stay off the internet or use SpoilerShield, you can't control what other people do. You might overhear a conversation about the hockey winner, your friends might excitedly tell you about the amazing ski jump they witnessed, there are certain things you just can't help. How to: It's either cut off all contact with the outside world, or serenely accept that you might see a spoiler. Because even if you get to watch the primetime event spoiler-free, NBC might spoil the whole thing during the competition itself. Don't forget: They did it in London.

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