NBC plays down US Gold

One of the most moving parts of past Olympic broadcasts, and the most enjoyable to me (even back when I was a liberal Democrat) was watching some American Gold Medalist receive his or her medal and the playing of the national anthem.

I assume such things are still going on in Torino, but you wouldn’t know it from NBC’s coverage. Last night, we watched and noticed that at the end of the program…well, we saw the last 13 notes of the American anthem and then things immediately switched to a ceremony featuring a Canadian winner. We got to hear ALL of O Canada.

Tonight, the show closed with the Russian Anthem – and there wasn’t even a cursory glance at any American ceremony…not even 13 notes.

It cheats the athletes and the nation that wants to share in their triumph. It’s very nice that Canada won this or Russia won that, and I like to see them waving from the podium…but at the end of the day, it’s the US Athlete I want to see, the Star Spangled Banner I want to hear.

Buster is annoyed about it. I explained to him that in the world of politically correct multiculturalists a focus on only American athletes would seem “non-inclusive” and “jingoistic.”

Buster took it a little differently. “It’s a way to downplay and minimize America,” he said, as he walked out of the room in disgust. “It’s another way, a discreet and sneaky way, a little way, to defeat her. It’s a very pussy way, too.”

I would have said “wussy,” myself. But…it probably means the same thing.

Meanwhile – ice skating provided a stunning moment. I know some say it’s for wusses…but all I see when I watch women slam into the ice at 30 mph, from dizzying heights, and get back up to finish their performance (or in the case of the Russian pairs skaters, learn to re-trust themselves as a working unit) I think…enormous heart, enormous guts. Nothing wussy about it.

UPDATE: Couldn’t help but notice that last night (Tuesday) we took the gold in the mens skiing – a pretty “high-profile” competition…so NO ONE’S award ceremony was shown. I guess if there is no one but Americans worth showing, why…there’s simply nothing to see.

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  • buckey1

    My understanding of this is that the program that we are seeing is a program put together by NBC for Americams. The CBC in Canada can put together their own program with all the footage being taken in Turin for their public’s viewing. The same is so in England, Russia and China. We get all the NBC fluff about these folks, but don’t get to enjoy their victories!

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  • http://davejustus.com Dave Justus

    I disagree here. One of the glories of the Olympics is that so often they transcend world politics. I dislike the Chinese regime, but the courage and grace of Zhang Dan was inspiring and I was cheering for her.
    I think that our Olympic coverage tends to focus too much on the American athletes. Every athelete there has sacrificed for this chance, but we only get to see athletes that are either American or the top competitors. The rest simply disappear. From watching most events, you would think that the entire competition was a bunch of Americans against a couple of people from other countries.
    Sure, the same medal ceremonies should be shown regardless of who wins, I expect that it is more the popularity of events than the country of origin that determines this for NBC though. If a U.S. pair had won figure skating, I am sure we would have heard the entire Star Spangled Banner.

  • TheAnchoress

    Well, the US won gold and silver, in the women’s half-pipe and Gold in speed skating, and we didn’t get to hear them on those podiums.

    My rant takes nothing away from the other athletes. I was inspired by the Chinese skaters, too and the Russians. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to hear OUR anthem at the end of the day.

  • http://davejustus.com Dave Justus

    I am pretty sure that Pairs Skating is a bigger draw for NBC’s Olympic watchers than half-pipe is.

  • http://none Darrell

    When I saw a banner being held in the opening ceremonies by Pinochet’s daughter and Susan Saradon, the TV went off. And stayed off. Does the Olympics bring the world together? If the US wins an event, we hear boos. If the US loses, we get to see sore-winner syndrome in action. And this started before 2000.

  • TheAnchoress

    You’re totally missing the point, Dave. It doesn’t matter whether the half-pipe or the skating is a bigger draw. When they’re doing the recap at the end of the day, before they sign off at 11:30, there is no reason why they cannot show us an American medal ceremony, complete with anthem, at the close of broadcast. They USED to do it every night, no matter what the sport. If it was a skier, not a skater, it didnt’ matter – the show closed with an American medal ceremony. Apparently that is now anathema to NBC who – again last night, as it re-broadcast in the post-midnight hours, gave us 13 notes of our Anthem, and then showed Russia’s anthem in full.

  • http://davejustus.com Dave Justus

    I get you point. I am just not sure you are correct. I think you are assuming anti-Americanism by NBC without evidence. My guess is that whoever (American or not) won the pairs skating would have their entire medal ceremony broadcast and that whoever (American or not) won the half-pipe wouldn’t.
    I think it totally fair for you to disagree with that choice of broadcasting and to desire a more America centric Olympic coverage, but I don’t think it fair to acuse NBC of an Anti-American bias based on the evidence we have. Now, if an American wins a high profile event, and NBC chooses instead to broadcast the medal ceremony of a low-profile event winner of another country then you would have a case. Right now, I don’t think you do.
    Assuming malice without evidence when a more generous explanation exists is a dangerous mental habit to get into.

  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Take pride in the Therapy Olympics. The American team took gold, silver and bronze.

  • TheAnchoress

    Dave – I would equate speek skating and skiing as about equal in appeal – but when we won the gold in speed skating, we saw the ceremony of a Canadian skier, instead.

    I cannot “prove” anything. All I can do is watch and notice, and remark. Which is what I’s doing! :-)

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  • http://none Darrell

    It was Salvador Allende’s daughter, Isabel. And Susan Saradon.

    The US broadcast should be tailored to the US, cheerleading and all. The rest of the world can present a local broadcast that fits their tastes and needs. Including cheerleading for their “home” teams.

  • TheAnchoress

    Can’t help but notice that last night, we won the gold in skiing and NO ANTHEM got played. – Not for us, not for anyone. I guess if we get the most high-profile award of the day…then they just won’t show ANYONE getting a medal.

  • http://none Darrell

    Show NBC what you think and switch the channel. Before they hire Giuliana Sgrena as a special correspondent. Maybe the next owner of the network will do it right.

  • fschmieg

    Something is wrong at NBC these days. Their news outlet/s are absolutely unwatchable now. This change seems to have happened around 1 to 2 years ago. Before that they weren’s too bad at all, especially compared to CBS and ABC. But they have turned. Has their management changed?