Some things aren’t better left unsaid at the Olympics
NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:
LEFT UNSAID: NBC aired a touching tribute to the late American bobsledder Steve Holcomb, and the impact he had on his sport’s tight-knit community. The failure to mention how an Olympic athlete died at only 37 years old (he was found last May in Lake Placid, N.Y., with alcohol and sleeping pills in his system) was a distraction, however. Lester Holt did reveal that in a “Nightly News” feature on Holcomb earlier Friday, but you can’t assume audience overlap. Similarly, the coverage of American speedskater Shani Davis’ seventh-place finish in his quest to win a third gold medal was oddly muted. Why wasn’t he a factor in the race? Was it simply because Davis, at 35, is on an athletic decline? Davis, who had expressed displeasure when he wasn’t selected as the American team’s flagbearer for the opening ceremony, has not made things any easier by not talking to the media. Still, it’s hard not to contrast the attention his effort received compared to Shaun White, another American athlete who came to the Pyeongchang Games looking for a third gold medal.
TALKING MIKAELA: Mike Tirico’s interview with Mikaela Shiffrin was strong, as the American skier talked about coming to terms with expectations and results in Pyeongchang. It was a welcome chance to stretch out for Tirico, who hasn’t had an opportunity to do much beyond guiding viewers from event to event.
RATINGS: An estimated 17.3 million people watched the Olympics on NBC, NBCSN or streaming services on Thursday night, down 13 percent from the 20.3 million who watched the corresponding night in Sochi four years ago. The NBC-only audience of 15.2 million was down 25 percent, the Nielsen company said. The conclusion of the women’s figure skating competition is usually one of a Winter Olympics’ big events, and this year featured a tense duel between Russian teammates Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva. But a poor showing by the U.S. skaters eliminated a rooting interest for much of NBC’s audience.
1968: Tennis great Serena Williams narrates a 90-minute documentary, “1968,” which focuses on the turbulent year and the Olympics in Mexico City. The clenched-fist gesture by American track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos on a medal stand was a memorable event during those games. NBC will air the documentary at 4:10 p.m. on Sunday. It will also air on NBCSN as part of a three-hour documentary block starting at 11:30 a.m. and be streamed on NBC’s Olympic web site.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org