NEW YORK, N.Y. – Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:
WARDROBE MALFUNCTION: The Pyeongchang Olympics have had more wardrobe malfunctions than a Super Bowl halftime show, the latest on live television Sunday night when French ice dancer Gabriella Papadakis’ costume became unhooked, briefly exposing her left breast. It was obvious to NBC announcers Terry Gannon and Tanitha White that Papadakis and partner Guillaume Cizeron directed much of the energy during their routine at trying to keep her costume from flying open. “I’m just heartbroken that this had to be part of their Olympic program,” White said. NBC’s subsequent online and television replays blurred out portions of the dance where the malfunction was evident. Earlier in the Olympics, South Korean figure skater Yura Min had a similar issue.
NO RIPPON: American figure skater Adam Rippon agreed to become an NBC correspondent for the duration of the Olympics, but then changed his mind overnight. He told NBCSN on Sunday 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 favour. 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 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 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 5 inches. “Quite a story,” he said. Yes, and giving it time to unfold would have been welcome.
TWIZZLE STICKS: Pro move by Gannon, early in his ice dancing work with White. When White said that twizzle elements would be crucial to the routines, Gannon instantly recognized that 95 per cent 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, on how folks back home would react to 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 per cent to 40 per cent 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. The gap is expected to narrow during the second half of the games when women’s figure skating is featured. Weather postponements of Alpine skiing events may have influenced 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