AP Television Writer
Highlights from coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics:
NBC's EDITING: In a sign of how closely NBC is being watched, the website Deadspin compared a speech by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach with the edited version NBC aired and headlined a story, "NBC Edits Out IOC Anti-Discrimination Statement From Opening Ceremony." True. NBC also left in another anti-discrimination statement by Bach. He made a point about the value of tolerance more than once in his speech. You could argue that the stronger statement was edited out, but not that NBC altered his message. Rich Ferraro, spokesman for the gay rights advocacy group GLAAD, said Saturday he had no comment on the editing. He said NBC's networks don't appear to by shying away from the issue of how gays and lesbians are treated in Russia, and they should keep it up.
RATINGS: An estimated 31.7 million people watched the opening ceremony Friday night, the Nielsen company said. That's down 1 million from the audience for the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver, which was televised live. NBC prefers a comparison to the last Winter Olympics opener shown via tape delay, from Turin in 2006, which was seen by 22.2 million viewers. The individual market with the best ratings was Minneapolis.
SLOPES: NBC's team tried gamely to keep up, but a new event like the slopestyle deserves a primer. Who are the people that judge a sport like this, and what are their qualifications? What goes in to their scoring decisions? NBC's Todd Richards praised Canada's Mark McMorris for his bronze medal-winning run, but we're still trying to figure out the difference between it and the gold medal-earning performance of American Sage Kotsenburg. Maybe it's one of those Olympic mysteries.
SKATE AWAY: Splendid slow-motion camera pictures of Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya, the ice shavings flying from the blades of her skates. Then there was that impossible stretch of her leg straight over her head. "I get cramps every time I see that," NBC's Scott Hamilton said.
MOGULS: In contrast to Kotsenburg's victory, American Hannah Kearney's bronze medal finish in moguls skiing was a heartbreaking, rather than heartwarming, moment. Her tears, and self-assessment that she's over the hill athletically, were hard to watch. Still, this competition deserved more airtime.
TRAINING: NBC is experimenting by airing live figure skating during daytime on its NBC Sports Network and showing tape-delayed coverage of the same events on the broadcast network in prime time. The plan also gives on-the-job training to what may be its next generation of marquee analysts, the team of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. Lipinski is the more experienced broadcaster, and it shows. So far Weir is concentrating on hitting his marks and not worrying about adding flair.
RERUN: The NBC Sports Network aired Mary Carillo's feature about touring Sochi with Maria Sharapova less than 24 hours after it was initially shown on NBC. Really? Everything that's poured into this event and there's a rerun on the day after the opening ceremony?
MY BOYFRIEND: NBC sports reporter Tanith Belbin, a former ice dancer, was asked by Dan Patrick whether she can be impartial in reporting about her boyfriend, American ice dancer Charlie White, and his teammate, Meryl Davis. "I do have an objective eye," she said. "To a certain degree, of course. I'm also nervous watching them skate. I want them to succeed."
EYE ON COSTAS: Bob Costas' eye infection doesn't appear to be getting better, and he continues to be self-conscious. "I'm still stuck with Clark Kent glasses," Costas said Saturday night.
TWEET OF THE DAY: "I know we're all supposed to hate NBC's prime-time Olympics coverage, but it really is an effective way to veg out on a Saturday night."
UPCOMING: Bode Miller finds out Sunday if his strong practice runs on the downhill skiing course can carry over to the gold medal final.
David Bauder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.
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