- Associated Press - Friday, August 10, 2012

NEW YORK — Chores piling up. DVRs stuffed and groaning with unwatched favorites. Late, bleary strolls into the office.

Welcome to the Great Olympic Time Suck, that unsung sport that has millions glued to coverage of the London Games rather than tending to real life.

At 34-year-old Angie Butcher’s house in suburban Chicago, the suck looks like this:

“Dishes are not getting done. Kids are not getting baths at night. Kids are up hours past bedtime,” said Butcher, whose family has been watching anything and everything. “Nice summer evenings are going by and none of us are outside to enjoy it. Dinner has been picnic style on the living room rug more than once.”

The suck has been so bad that her neighbors even wondered whether the family of five was out of town.

The family is far from alone. Nielsen said 29.1 million people watched NBC’s Wednesday coverage, making it the 12th time in 13 nights that the audience for the London Games beat the corresponding night in Beijing.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans, in fact, have watched or followed the games either on television, online or via social networks, according to a survey done Aug. 2-5 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

If Bosco, Julie O'Grady’s Australian shepherd in Palo Alto, Calif., could speak, he’d likely be shrieking, “Get a grip woman!” His pained, pathetic pleas haven’t been enough to pry the tech industry public relations specialist away from the Olympics.

“He’s not getting his nightly walk. Period,” a contrite O'Grady admitted.

In Miami, Jim Angleton has a financial services business to run. He’s always been a big Olympics fan, and has attended several in person. This time around, his late-night viewing obsession has him heading to the office at 11 a.m. rather than his usual 8:30, ditching his nightly jogs, shedding his signature suits in favor of jeans, and failing to return calls and emails on time to make room for the games.

He, too, had a dog problem on one out-of-it day.

“I forgot to walk the dog before I left for my office. Yup, found a surprise when I arrived home,” said Angleton, 56.

Emilie Yount, 30, a writer and actor in Chicago, was a sprinter in high school and her first year of college. She’s been a swimmer all her life and has a friend who works at the rowing venue, Eton Dorney, so she’s been glued to her TV and London.

Her 7 a.m. alarm has been more jarring than usual. “I haven’t socialized and I missed a birthday party for a close friend,” Yount said.

Paula Wade, 41, a quality assurance tech for a company in Oklahoma City, Okla., was sure she wouldn’t get sucked in. “I mean, really, who watches archery or table tennis? And yet there I am, cheering the Italians, or whoever, on. And now I’m to the point that I have things auto-deleting off of the DVR.”

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