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Sort of like the 2000 Rockwood Olympic Watch, only colder.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002


Are you cringing yet? And I'm only screaming in text. This is what it's like listening to NBC's announcers for the snowboarding events. The snowboarders themselves rock (I mean, hey, they're flying!), but NBC's commentators detract from the event rather than adding to it.

It's a shame that an event that has finally been raised to the profile of an Olympic sport is covered by people with no idea what they're doing. For example, at the end of one boarder's second run, the announcer proclaimed it as "incredibly great." To me, the untrained snowboard competition viewer, that means it should be a very high score. In reality, said boarder ended up tossing out that score because it wasn't as high as his first attempt. Does that mean his first run was "incredibly, incredibly great?"

And how were these events scored? Air? Twists? Landings? I would guess parts of all three, but the announcers never told me. I literally had no idea how each competitor was doing until after they'd announced the scores. Without a point of reference, something a good announcer would have set up early on, this ended up being just a bunch of people sliding down a mountain. It was still interesting to watch, but it could have been so much better.
posted by Brian Lundmark at 12:50 AM

And now another "Chevy Olympic Moments" with your weasel-like commentator Jimmy Rob--

*GASP* Hold the phone!! What's this I see?

Tonight's "Chevy Olympic Moments" was hosted by none other than Mr. Up-Close-and-Personal himself, Jim McKay! Am I dreaming? Has NBC finally gotten rid of Jimmy Roberts?! Now I know what it's like to win a gold medal! I'd like to thank my family, my friends...

Okay, okay...back to reality. McKay's piece on Georg Hackl, four-(now five)-time medalist in the luge was definitely fluffy, but yet still tolerable because McKay actually seems interested in the athletes he covers. By comparison, Jimmy Roberts always seems interested in making you feel a certain way. McKay reports. Roberts manipulates. And if this is the last time I have to mention Jimmy Roberts during the next two weeks, it will be the best Olympics ever!
posted by Brian Lundmark at 12:52 AM

In one of the little side attractions at the Olympics that Paul from Salt Lake was mentioning earlier, NBC, while going to commercial at the luge, showed a brief (15-20 seconds) clip of an a singing group calling themselves the "A Capella Bobsleigh." It was short, light-hearted, and revealed a bit of the local flavor of the games without interrupting the action. Maybe NBC did learn something after Sydney!
posted by Brian Lundmark at 12:54 AM

Although it was fluff, I really enjoyed the segment of Bob Costas picking up the tab of some bar in Vermont because he had suggested it offhandedly the night before. Even though I'm sure Bob will get reimbursed by NBC for the expense, it was a classy move.
posted by Brian Lundmark at 12:54 AM

The figure skating coverage was generally very good, although there were some slight gaffes.

A good reporter will have a list of questions going into an interview, but know enough to divert from them if the situation warrants it. An average reporter will stick to the script, no matter what.

After the crowd-pleasing performance by Americans Ina and Zimmerman, and at a time when they were still in (gold at the time) medal contention, NBC's rinkside reporter asked the pair what they thought of coming back in 2006. Why ask that? Because at the preshow meeting, everyone assumed that the Americans would finish so far out of medal contention that they would only be relevant in four years.

A good reporter, having watched the pair skate, would have adapted their question list and instead focused on the things that had gone right tonight. But NBC instead had an average reporter, and as a consequence, her prepackaged question seemed (and was) out of place.
posted by Brian Lundmark at 12:56 AM


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