BY DAVID BAUDER
NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:
NO RIPPON: American figure skater Adam Rippon agreed to become an NBC correspondent for the duration of the Olympic games, but then changed his mind overnight. He told NBCSN on Sunday that he was flattered by the offer, “but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the (Olympic) Village.” He said his friends on the Olympic team were there for him during his events and he wanted to return the favor. Rippon later echoed those sentiments on Twitter , which is where he said he initially found out about the opportunity. Rippon attracted attention for his colorful and candid interviews, and his apparent ease with the medium.
SEALED WITH A KISS: It was a small moment with a big impact. Kudos to NBC for showing American skier Gus Kensworthy getting a kiss from his boyfriend Matt Wilkas. Kenworthy knows what it meant. “I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics,” he said. “I think if I had, it would’ve made it easier for me.”
TRAINING RUN: Devoting extended prime-time coverage to downhill skiing training runs was a snooze-inducing miscalculation. Even worse, people involved told you it was meaningless. When NBC’s Dan Hicks prompted his partner Bode Miller to discuss how the training runs give a glimpse into a skier’s race strategy, Miller said that wasn’t necessarily so. And Lindsey Vonn admitted she plays mind games with her opponents, intentionally holding back on her speed. Shortly after, NBC’s Mike Tirico showed a brief clip of the biathlon photo finish between France’s Martin Fourcade and Germany’s Simon Schempp, noting it was a 9.3-mile race decided by five inches. “Quite a story,” he said. Yes, and giving it time to unfold would have been welcome.
TWIZZLE STICKS: Pro move by NBC’s Terry Gannon, calling ice dancing with Tanith White. When White said that twizzle elements would be crucial to the routines, Gannon instantly recognized that 95 percent of the audience wouldn’t have a clue what that was and asked her to explain.
JUMP THE BRIDGE: NBC’s Paul Burmeister reached way back to Burt Reynolds’ 1978 movie “Hooper” in comparing an aerial skier’s move to when Reynolds jumped over a gorge in a souped-up Trans Am.
QUOTE: “I hope my grandmother watching on TV is OK” — German bobsled driver Nico Walther worried about how the folks back home would react to a his nasty spill. He was fine.
REGIONAL POPULARITY: Halfway through the Olympics, Salt Lake City has a keener interest in the games than any other U.S. market, the Nielsen company said. The Utah city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Denver, Milwaukee and Seattle follow as cities with the top ratings for NBC’s coverage.
GENDER BREAKDOWN: By a roughly 60 to 40 percent margin, NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage has featured men’s events more than women’s during the first half of the games, according to a study by three professors. The numbers don’t include mixed-gender events. The study said the gap is wider than it was during the first half of the 2014 games. It should become more even during the second half of the games when women’s figure skating is featured. Weather postponements of Alpine skiing events may have impacted the ratio, said Andrew Billings of the University of Alabama, who is studying the issue with James Angelini of the University of Delaware and Paul MacArthur of Utica College.
RATINGS: Because of the holiday weekend, NBC did not immediately have ratings for its Saturday night coverage.
AP National Writer Eddie Pells in Pyeongchang, South Korea, contributed to this report.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
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