Salary Survey Extra: The Tokyo Olympics events tech pros will miss the most
Posted on
April 30, 2020

Salary Survey Extra is a series of periodic dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our most recent Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

If you were planning on enjoying the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, well, those plans have been put on hold indefinitely.

The 2020 Summer Olympics will not be held in 2020, and may not be held in 2021. By canceling the long-planned and eagerly anticipated Tokyo Olympics, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted a tradition that hasn't been outright broken (despite national boycotts) since World War II.

This is probably not the sort of thing you were expecting to read about at, which means that we must be in Not So Serious territory, reporting on one of those sometimes goofy questions that get put at the end of the Salary Survey each year. The survey always covers some off-topic stuff to let IT pros blow off a little steam after plowing through 50-ish relevant questions.

When we initially asked what IT pros were looking forward to from the Tokyo Olympics, "coronavirus" was a term most people wouldn't have recognized. Now the closest that anyone will get to an Olympic Games in 2020 is watching video of past events, or maybe plugging into one of the many Olympics-themed video games.

Most people probably don't directly or immediately associate sports with IT professionals, but the Olympics are not just any old athletic competition. Watching highly trained athletes come together and showcase their skills fires the imagination of people around the world. There's also so much variety that even if you don't enjoy most sports, there's a little bit of something for everyone.

Since no one will be watching live (or tape-delayed) broadcasts of Olympic competition this summer, our question is now something of past-tense inquiry. Or, for you patient, glass-half-full types, it's a still-relevant future-looking question that's merely been put off for a bit. Here's what we learned:

Q: The competition category I am most excited to watch during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is:

Gymnastics — 23.1 percent
Swimming — 13.9 percent
Track — 11.7 percent
I never watch the Olympics because I am a sports curmudgeon. — 10.3 percent
I never watch the Olympics because I am a time differential curmudgeon. — 9.7 percent
Basketball — 9.3 percent
Diving — 3.4 percent
Decathlon — 3.4 percent
I never watch the Olympics because I am a world unity curmudgeon. — 1.5 percent

Gymnastics has been a signature Olympic event for generations. Even people who have zero investment or involvement in gymnastics at any other time often get caught up in the triumphs and travails of people whose muscles have muscles soaring, spinning, contorting, and compressing in breathtaking ways. So, yeah, no surprise that gymnastics is No. 1.

Same thing for swimming, really. Does anybody who is not a parent or sibling of the competitors attend or watch non-Olympic swim meets? And yet, some of the best-known Olympic athletes are swimmers. It is a little surprising that track events are third — though doping scandals have tainted track's appeal — and that basketball is fourth (at least among the sports answers).  Don't we get enough basketball from the NBA?

Even among IT pros, of course, there are people who simply aren't touched by the Olympic magic. Nearly 22 percent of those surveyed have a reason not to care.

We didn't come close to listing every competition category, but we did include a catch-all "Other" slot for people to write in answers. The big champ among sports not referenced directly is soccer. Which is a little weird, since soccer has its very own quadrennial world championship event that is arguably bigger than the Olympics. We suppose hardcore fans can never get enough soccer.

Other highlights from the "also receiving votes" category include: cycling, fencing, martial arts, wrestling, volleyball, and skateboarding, which was due to make its official debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo. We'll catch you at the next Summer Olympics, skateboarding. Whenever that actually comes to pass.

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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