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Sunday, December 9, 2018

NBC misses surprise gold medal run after switching to figure skating

NBC Olympics

NBC had some rough luck while airing the Olympic Games on Friday night.

NBC primarily showed the women’s super-G alpine skiing event, which featured Lindsey Vonn — the biggest American female athlete at the Olympics. Vonn was first out of the gate and made a mistake, which led to her time being surpassed pretty quickly.

After the first 19 skiers had gone, NBC had essentially said that Austrian Anna Veith’s time would make her the gold medal winner, and they cut away to figure skating to show American Adam Rippon in the free program.

Sure enough, after NBC went to Rippon, Czech Republic skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka put together a gold medal run.

Though NBC had cut away from the event, they switched back to show viewers Ledecka’s run. The only problem is that they spoiled it for viewers by saying Ledecka had won the gold before showing her run.

A few media critics such as the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner and SI’s Richard Deitsch agreed that NBC took a gamble that made sense by switching to show Rippon, who likely would generate more interest among US viewers. The mistake, as Posner said, was spoiling the result for viewers before showing it.

Though some at NBC will be kicking themselves for the mistake, you can’t fault them for their decision-making process. They had to make a choice and showed what most American viewers likely wanted to see. And it’s not like they didn’t eventually show the surprise gold medal run anyway.



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