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Male, female athletes close to equity at NBC

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NEW YORK (AP) — A report says female athletes got almost as much screen time as men during the Winter Olympics on NBC.

The report from the University of Alabama says male athletes were featured 45 percent of the time on NBC’s prime-time telecasts, compared to 41 percent for women. The remainder was for mixed events, like ice dancing. Since 1994, the average gender gap has been 20 percent, with men getting more attention.

Alabama professor Andrew Billings, author of a book on how TV covers the Olympics, said Wednesday that Sochi’s coverage represented progress for women’s sports.

Figure skating skewed the math: NBC televised five and a half hours of women’s figure skating, and two hours and 42 minutes of men’s figure skating.