Highlights from television coverage of the Sochi Olympics:
GOING DUTCH: Speedskating analyst Dan Jansen rightly put the focus where it belonged, away from the underperforming Americans and on the overachieving Dutch. “It’s time to stop talking about those who didn’t perform here and start celebrating those who did,” he said.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS: Sweet analogy Saturday by biathlon play-by-play announcer Bob Papa that drove the sport home for many viewers. Papa compared the pressure faced by biathletes at the shooting range to that felt by amateur golfers nearing the end of a round with the chance to break 80 for the first time. In a tight competition, that final shooting stage winnowed the field of gold medal contenders from four to two, Germany and eventual winner Russia.
WEIR WARDROBE WATCH: Johnny wore a shiny, champagne colored jacket with a hairpiece containing yellow flowers that partner Tara Lipinski matched with flowers in her hair. During the figure skating rerun, er, gala, they did seem wise enough to understand that it’s best to be quiet and let people skate.
GOING HOME: Strangely unsatisfying feature on Paralympian Jessica Long to open Saturday’s telecast. However admirable, Long is hardly a household name and isn’t competing in these games. Adopted from a Russian orphanage by a Baltimore couple, Long travels to meet the couple who gave her up and their family. Story felt incomplete with little told from the perspective of her parents and birth parents.
SHORT ORDER: With so much to talk about in his interview with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, Bob Costas didn’t really bring up journalists’ complaints about food, did he?
TWEET OF THE DAY: “Costas is REALLY attached to that coffee cup. He can’t seem to let it go. What’s in the cup Bob? WHAT’S IN THE CUP?!?”
RATINGS: Friday’s prime-time coverage averaged 14.9 million viewers, easily the smallest audience of the games so far. That was well below the 24.5 million for the comparable night in Vancouver, which featured performances by Lindsey Vonn and Apolo Anton Ohno, and 15.9 million for the same night in Italy in 2006. With no American medal winners Saturday – traditionally the least-watched night of television during the week – don’t look for much improvement.
UPCOMING: Sunday’s closing ceremony.
David Bauder can be reached at dbauder(at)ap.org or on Twitter(at)dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder .