AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 6,500 miles away from the heart of Tokyo, Austinites had to wake up at sunrise to watch the U.S. women’s soccer team dominate New Zealand in a heavy-handed 6-1 win during the Olympics early Saturday morning.
Dozens of people did just that, some draped in American flags, others bearing Team USA jerseys, for a watch party hosted by the American Outlaws: Austin chapter, a membership group that works to grow the popularity of soccer in Austin.
Haymaker, a saloon and sandwich shop, which usually opens midday, unlocked its doors hours early for the event.
Local restaurants and bars airing the Olympics
If you’re not as interested in that whole ‘wake up at 4 in the morning’ thing, plenty of local bars and restaurants are showing the Tokyo Olympics regularly throughout the day.
Shoal Creek Saloon, a notorious hub for New Orleans Saints fans, said it’ll “make a big party of it just like they do with everything.”
Even midday Saturday, the sports bar had a number of people swing through to casually watch.
Juan Thomas and Bethany Holley, who were at the saloon for lunch, said they particularly like watching sports they don’t normally get to see, like water polo. It didn’t hurt that the United States women’s water polo team crushed Japan 25-4 while the pair were there Saturday.
“It was just a landslide victory,” Thomas laughed.
Other local bars and breweries also promise Olympic viewing. Bouldin Acres, a beer garden and restaurant, told KXAN it will have its TV’s turned to the Games for the next couple weeks. Black Sheep Lodge has highlighted specific Olympic events on its website to draw fans.
Sign up for Olympics push alert notifications on the KXAN News App and our “More than the Score” newsletter to follow Texans in the Olympics and moments you won’t want to miss. Tune in at noon Monday through Friday for KXAN’s daily Olympics stream on kxan.com.
COVID-19 still in play
The start of the Olympic Games in Tokyo coincided locally with a shift to Stage 4 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Austin-Travis County health leaders announced Friday they’re concerned about a rise in cases and hospitalizations in Central Texas, particularly among people who are unvaccinated and because of the prominence of the delta variant.
Shoal Creek Saloon suspects it won’t have as many people out to watch the Olympics as a result.
“There’s just people that are a little wary about going out still,” Brian Howe, general manager at Shoal Creek Saloon, said. “I feel like it’s a really safe place to watch a game, but I think there’s going to be some people who opt to stay home this year. ”
If you are one of those people, KXAN has you covered with Olympics coverage on-air and online.
We want to see how you’re celebrating Team USA from home! Send in your pictures, videos or tips by using kxan.com/reportit or by emailing email@example.com.