February 14, 2014

Olympic Viewing: Plushenko and 'plausibly live'

Highlights from coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics:

IMPLAUSIBLY LIVE: We can deal with NBC's "plausibly live" format presenting competition unfolding on its tape-delayed broadcasts. It felt wrong, however, for Russian figure skating legend Evgeni Plushenko's sudden retirement because of injury before performing Thursday. The broadcast presented a pre-taped intro about Plushenko as if he were about to start skating, and then came his "surprise" withdrawal. By this point, it was already 10 hours old and the story of the day. It should have been covered in a more straightforward manner.

GETTING BACK UP: By contrast, the figure skating team of Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton was at its finest with the performance of American figure skater Jeremy Abbott. He took a hard fall on his hip and looked like he'd have to be helped off the ice when, almost miraculously, he got up and finished his routine. Hamilton, as is his signature, felt as if he were on the ice with Abbott and feeling his pain. Both he and Bezic properly and enthusiastically hailed Abbott's guts. Just as nice, the microphone caught Abbott's quiet aside, "Well, that really hurt," as he was coming off the ice.

UNIFORM CHANGE: NBC's Steve Sands had an interesting story about the United States' struggling speedskating team making an adjustment to the back of their uniforms, presumably to gain an aerodynamic edge. Then he made a reference to the Dutch press "trying to make something of it." That just raised questions that Sands frustratingly left unanswered: Was there an implication the Americans were cheating somehow? Or were they just being mocked?

UNIFORM SAG: Swedish freestyle skier Henrik Harlaut nearly left his baggy pants on the course. NBC analyst Luke Van Valin took note with a humorous jab about seeking sponsors for his undergarments.

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