Olympic viewing: no need for soccer tweet war
Hope Solo shouldn't be tweeting angry messages about NBC's Brandi Chastain after her most recent game. There was no reason to.
The U.S. women's soccer team was in action Tuesday for the first time since last weekend, when Solo, its goaltender, took exception to commentary by her former teammate, Chastain, who is now an analyst for the Olympic soccer tournament. Solo tweeted comments suggesting the game had passed Chastain by.
Chastain avoided the topic during Tuesday's coverage of the United States' game against North Korea. She seemed nervous at first, answering "absolutely" to three questions posed by her broadcast partner, Arlo White, before the game. But she had little opportunity to criticize the U.S. team, since its 1-0 victory was much easier than the score indicated. She also had little cause to talk about Solo, since most of the game was played on the opposite side of the field from the U.S. goalie.
After one of Solo's saves, Chastain praised the goalie as "very courageous. You have to put your face down there. Good job holding on to the ball."
About her only criticism of the U.S. team came during a lull early in the second half, when the Americans' attention seemed to wander.
"To win championships, you have to sometime even act the part," she said. "Get your chest out. Look about. Get your head up like you're not bothered by any pressure. `I can see the whole field. I can make any decision I want.' Those are the types of mannerisms that, I think, you need to show more of in this match."
DAYTIME: The NBC Sports network doesn't have to worry about narrative flow, or avoiding sports for fear women will turn away. So it can be a fun place to catch the breadth of the Olympics. Tuesday was well-programmed, varied and very entertaining: fencing, judo, the U.S. women's soccer team, a compelling volleyball match between Brazil and Russia.
GYMNASTICS: If only NBC's gymnastics team could stick the landings as well as the athletes they're covering. Tim Daggett and Elfi Schlegel are knowledgeable and opinionated, but too often cross the line into being overbearing. "The judges were so wrong! They were so wrong! Where is the error there?" Daggett all but shouted when American McKayla Maroney didn't get a rare perfect score for her vault. Al Trautwig sounds silly when he tries hard to be profound. "This is like being the parent of Evel Knievel," he said over a shot of a gymnast's nervous mom. And we heard your "champions walk together" line the first time, no need to repeat. The three-person booth sounds very crowded.
PHELPS' BAD FINISH: Superior camera work and production illustrating how Michael Phelps earned a silver instead of gold medal in his 200-meter butterfly race Tuesday, particularly the underwater cameras and the reaction shots of Phelps' mom, winner Chad Le Clos' father and Phelps' coach.
"SORRY": NBC's Olympics executive producer, Jim Bell, tweeted an apology to an angry follower for a Monday night gaffe where the network ran a "Today" show promo with Missy Franklin showing off her gold medal — just before the network aired the race where she won it.
SORRY, PART TWO: If that "Today" ad was a poorly timed commercial, how about the Visa commercial that ran directly after Phelps' silver medal race? It celebrated Phelps winning a gold medal in 2008 in a split-second finish that was precisely how he lost on Tuesday.
RATINGS: An estimated 31.6 million people watched NBC's Monday night coverage, the Nielsen company said. That's the lowest of the four nights, but was still better than the 30.2 million who saw the first Monday of the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Again, the victory came despite all of Monday's coverage being tape-delayed, while Beijing had several events in prime time live, including a Michael Phelps gold medal-winning race. In the closely watched morning show ratings, NBC's "Today" show easily eclipsed ABC's "Good Morning America," 5.57 million viewers to 4.08 million, on Monday. Those first-day ratings indicate NBC may achieve its goal of getting exposure for new co-host Savannah Guthrie.
BACK ON TWITTER: British journalist Guy Adams was back on Twitter on Tuesday after NBC rescinded its complaint against him. The Los Angeles-based journalist had been suspended from the social media website for tweeting the email address of an NBC executive in a critical post about NBC's decision not to show the Olympic opening ceremony live. The move caused some to criticize NBC for a heavy-handed attempt to punish a critic. But Twitter apologized Tuesday, saying one of its employees had encouraged NBC to file a complaint against Adams. NBC said it didn't realize the complaint would result in Adams' suspension. NBC and Twitter have a business partnership for the Olympics.
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