Timothy Burke for Deadspin:
Despite NBC’s odd penchant for showing crying gymnasts, the rather amazing image you see above (taken by AP staffer Matt Dunham) didn’t make it to air last night. It’s the Russian team reacting to the shock of world champion Ksenia Afanasyeva inexplicably falling onto her face on the closing tumble of her floor exercise. That fall—and the resulting 14.333 score—didn’t only shock her Russian teammates, but gymnastics fans around the world. If the routine had been scored slightly lower, it could have even cost the Russians silver.
It most certainly cost them gold, though as our Dvora Meyers pointed out yesterday the U.S. had pretty much secured it already. That’s because the Russians performed their final rotation on the floor before the Americans, meaning the U.S. floor exercise routines were simply procedure.
I watched the team finals live yesterday while working, so I knew this, but at this point is anyone surprised? NBC needs to provide as much of a pretense of drama as possible to keep people from changing the channel.
The further from live the footage is, the more time they have to cut around these things and change the way you think of what’s going on. They barely showed anything that wasn’t an American athlete already anyway. This is only going to be worse in Sochi.
The only indication that everything was easy was a slip by Al Trautwig that Aly Raisman only needed to score a 10 and a third to win the gold medal. A trained monkey could score a 10 based on the judging last night. A 13 if it was wearing a Russian leotard.
Best image of the Olympics so far, by the way:
Like apparently everyone else on the planet, I have some thoughts about the coverage of the Olympics and the Olympics in general. I will probably write about them at some point.
But for now:
If these Games belong to everyone and these programs are supported by our money, why aren’t the broadcasts open to everyone? The OBS should be offering all this stuff to everyone directly instead of forcing us to accept ludicrous broadcasting agreements.