Update: strong ratings for NBC: Despite dire predictions, Olympics always comes through

Update: The final numbers are in, and NBC has reason to be pleased. The network averaged 21.6 million viewers per night for its primetime coverage, up six percent from the last European Olympics in Torino in 2006. The complete release is below.


I refrained from using these Al Michaels quotes during an interview I did with him prior to the Olympics. I didn’t want to put a hex on the Games.

But Michaels, a Olympics veteran for ABC and NBC, downplayed all the forecasts of doom and gloom in Sochi.

“Everyone is always worried,” Michaels said. “Will the weather be good? Will everything get done in time? What about terrorism? People even were asking me, ‘Are they going to put you in a Gulag?

“Every Olympics I’ve done, people say, ‘It’s going to be horrible.’ You know what? It’s always works out pretty well. There’s something about the world coming together and you see the best of the best.”

Michaels was right. Despite all the attempt by the Russians to screw things up, the Games won again. And for 2 1/2 weeks, the Five Rings captivated America, just like they always do.

Where else but the Olympics does the country stop on a Thursday afternoon for women’s hockey? And then for the following afternoon for men’s hockey?

I was in a Mediterranean restaurant on Friday night, and I heard the owner, a native of the Mideast, telling a table the back story about a European skiier. Again, where else but the Olympics?

As NBC’s ratings show, where else does a nation tune in night after and night, not to mention take in live streaming on their computer or mobile device, but during the Olympics?

Yes, the Olympics have many flaws, and NBC’s coverage could go over the top at times. But nevertheless we lock in that ski jumper or speedskater or figure skater, athletes we didn’t care about before and won’t after, because we know that this is their once-every-four-year moment to achieve a measure of immorality in their sports. For many athletes, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

The highs and lows are so powerful and dramatic, and so unique to the Olympics. We may not have a clue of what we’re watching sometimes, but we all know what it means to win a gold medal. We can see it their faces.

Dan Levy in Bleacher Report, who had been highly skeptical prior to the Games, wrote a piece suggesting the Olympics should be held every year.

I would rather write about freestyle skiing than the hand sizes of NFL prospects, and I love the NFL. Sometimes it’s good to give other sports our attention. Some of these sports are really great, too.

Besides, there is human interest at the Olympics. There is a spirit that always manages to transcend athletic competition that we don’t usually get in domestic fixtures.

And part of the fun of the Olympics is finding those untold stories of great athletes from every corner of the globe doing incredible things to achieve their dreams. There are people who spend their entire lives trying to win a medal in a niche sport with very little funding because they flat-out love to compete. Why shouldn’t we celebrate that more than we do?

Why can’t we highlight something that amazing every year?

Levy gives the pros and cons of his idea. Regardless, the logistics of staging the Games would make it impossible to accelerate the time frame.

I’m fine with the Olympics remaining on a four-year cycle. You do need that gap to make the quest for gold feel more momentous.

Thankfully, with the Winter and Summer Games now staggered, we won’t have to wait another four years for Olympics. The 2016 Summer Games in Rio are just 2 1/2 years away.

And it won’t be long before we hear about how construction in Rio is woefully behind, etc…

Let the countdown begin.


From NBC:

NBC concluded its coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia with its two primetime telecasts – the Closing Ceremony and the special Nancy & Tonya documentary – ranking #1 and #2 on broadcast television in household rating and average viewership, according to live plus same day fast national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

The Closing Ceremony (8:33-10:36 p.m. ET) averaged 15.1 million viewers and an 8.7 household rating/13 share – both #1 in broadcast primetime.  The Sochi Games Closing Ceremony also topped by 2% the viewership for the 2006 Torino Games (14.8 million).

The Nancy & Tonya documentary (7-8:33 p.m. ET), in which Mary Carillo looked back at the events surrounding the ladies’ figure skating competition at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games and featured an exclusive sit-down with Nancy Kerrigan and a one-on-one interview with Tonya Harding, ranked second in broadcast primetime with 12.7 million viewers and a 7.8 household rating/12 share.

The Closing Ceremony for the 2006 Torino Winter Games averaged 14.8 million viewers with an 8.9 household rating/13 share. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony – which followed that afternoon’s dramatic overtime Team USA-Canada men’s gold medal hockey game – averaged 21.4 million viewers with a 12.1 household rating/19 share.

For the Sochi Winter Olympics from the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7 through the Closing Ceremony, NBC averaged 21.4 million viewers for its primetime Sochi Olympics coverage – up 6% from the 20.2 million average for the last European Winter Games in Torino in 2006.  NBC’s 12.3 household rating/20 share for primetime also topped the Torino Games (12.2 household rating/19 share).  NBC’s primetime coverage of the live (ET/CT) 2010 Vancouver Games averaged 24.4 million viewers with a 13.8 household rating/23 share.

**NOTE** – Complete Olympic ratings, viewership and digital metrics will be released Tuesday.


Market HH rating/share
1. Minneapolis 15.6/24
2. Ft. Myers 13.5/19
3. Salt Lake City 13.3/24
4. Milwaukee 13.1/20
5. Buffalo 12.3/18
T6. Denver 12.2/20
T6. Providence 12.2/17
8. Chicago 12.0/18
9. West Palm Beach 11.8/18
10. Austin 11.4/18








DVR alert: NBC to air powerful films during Saturday’s coverage

Here are the previews and rundowns for a couple compelling films during NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday.

Long Way Home: The Jessica Strong Story

Paralympic athlete Jessica Long will be the subject of a 20-minute feature, Long Way Home: The Jessica Long Story, that will air within NBC’s Olympic coverage Saturday night.

Long Way Home chronicles the story of Long, a world-class swimmer, 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, and 21-year old American from a Baltimore suburb, who was born in Russia and adopted by American parents. The feature tracks Long’s journey from the States to Siberia – Baltimore to Bratsk – to meet her birth family.

A double amputee and a Russian-born orphan, Jessica Long has grown up as two people simultaneously, a dedicated and determined young woman who has used that drive to become one of the most-decorated U.S. Paralympians and also someone who, from 13 months old at her adoption from a Russian orphanage, has longed to know who she really is.

Over the course of Long Way Home: The Story of Jessica Long, Long tells the remarkable story of how she discovered her first family, and eventually embarked on a journey through a past she never knew. Originally named Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova, Long retraces her adoption back to her orphanage in Irkutsk, Russia, and on to what would have been her hometown of Bratsk, deep in the heart of Siberia. It’s here that we see the overwhelming moment where she comes face-to-face for the first time, not only with her birth mother, but her biological father, brothers and sisters – the Russian family she had never met.

It’s an adventure that takes her more than 7,000 miles from the world and family she grew up knowing.  From the States to Siberia, the journey is a test for her physically and mentally, but through it all Long poignantly takes us through the process of coming to grips with her Russian roots. In the end it leads her to a profound personally discovery, her two half’s have helped make her the whole individual that she is – Jessica Tatiana Long.

A production team from NBC Olympics accompanied Long on a three-day journey to reach the adoption center in Irkutsk and the 18-hour train ride to Bratsk.


Born with fibular hemimelia, the lower part of Long’s legs were amputated when she was 18 months old. She learned to walk on prosthesis. Now a 17-time Paralympic medalist – including 12 gold medals – Long holds 13 world records and is a two-time U.S. Paralympic Sports Woman of the Year.



NBC Olympics will present a special documentary – “Lokomotiv” – chronicling the tragedy surrounding the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey club, as well as the rebuilding of the team, as the worldwide hockey community banded with the Russian city to revive one of hockey’s richest traditions. The special will air Saturday, Feb. 22 within NBC’s afternoon Olympic coverage.

The NBC Olympics-produced documentary, narrated by Liev Schreiber, examines the tragic events surrounding Sept. 7, 2011, when an airplane carrying the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), crashed outside the Russian city of Yaroslavl, killing 44 of 45 people on board, including 37 players, coaches and staff. Nearly 100,000 people attended a memorial service, including Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The roster and coaching staff included 11 hometown players, and the following nine former NHLers; Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Josef Vasicek, Karel Rachunek, Karlis Skrastins, Alexander Vasunov, assistant coaches Alexander Karpovtsev and Igor Korolev, and head coach Brad McCrimmon.

In addition, the team featured five Olympians from five different countries; Demitra (Slovakia), Salei (Belarus), Vasicek (Czech Republic), Skrastins (Latvia), and Stefan Liv (Sweden). Demitra, Salei, and Skrastins all served as captains of their respective teams at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Here is a link to the clip.


Al Michaels: Legendary ‘Do you believe’ call almost wasn’t part of movie, ‘Miracle’

It is the four-year ritual for Al Michaels. When the Winter Olympics rolls around, he repeatedly gets asked about his legendary “Do you believe in miracles?” call which punctuated the United States’ legendary victory over Russia.

Michaels is quick to point out that 34 years have passed since the 1980 Olympics.

“If you’re under 40, you don’t remember it,” Michaels said.

The call, though, remains vibrant to the next generation thanks to the movie, Miracle, starring Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks.

“I can’t tell you how many youth coaches tell me they show that movie at the beginning of the season,” Michaels said. “The movie has given it a different life.”

However, here’s the kicker: Michaels’ famous call almost didn’t make it into the movie. I’ll let Michaels take it from here:


The director (Gavin O’Connor), a terrific guy, asked me to be part of the movie. I remember the executives at Disney wanted to make it into a love story. Thankfully, Gavin got them back on track.

I said, ‘Gavin, here’s the deal. Whatever I do, I’m going to do it as closely as I would have done (if he was calling it live). Nobody’s going to write this for me. I’ll be happy to connect the dots and put in the context.’

I said I wouldn’t re-do the last 30 seconds (of the U.S.-Russia game). That was a non-starter for me.

Well, there was this sound guy. He was over-the-top, really over-bearing. He was crazy that I wouldn’t do the last 30 seconds. The original audio sounded muddy. He wanted me to re-do what I actually said, but he’s got violins coming in. He’s doing it as the artist.

I said, no. I told Gavin, ‘You’re going to have to live with this.’

The sound guy was pissed off. During the last 30 seconds, he puts the music in so loud that he drowns me out.

Now this is before the movie comes out. My wife and I are at a private screening with (Disney heads) Michael Eisner and Bob Iger. They play the movie, and the lights come up. Eisner says to me, ‘Where’s the line?’ I explain to him what happened. He gets on the phone and says, ‘Tell Gavin I want to hear Al’s call.’

If not for Eisner, I would have been drowned out. The whole thing really was an instructive piece about the business and egos.



Bob Costas is barely on the air in primetime; NY Times’ takes out stopwatch

I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that you barely see Bob Costas during NBC’s primetime coverage. Basically, he serves as a bridge from one sport to another, sitting or standing in that big studio.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times had the same impression. He went one step further and used a stopwatch to quantify how much viewers see Bob. The answer: Not much.

Sandomir writes:

He has no fixed length of on-screen time. But it turns out he’s not on much. In his first two nights back after sitting out six days with the infection, Costas was a visible presence for a mere 5 minutes 28 seconds on Monday and for 10:17 on Tuesday, nearly half of it an interview with the figure skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

Costas was surprised by his figure for Monday’s show. “If you told me 15 minutes, I would say that sounds right,” he said.

The on-air totals for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who filled in during Costas’s convalescence, were just as modest during the three random nights I measured them, ranging from 3:57 to 8:18. (All these times exclude the minute or two of opening narration to set the stage for the night.)

And then there’s this:

Depending on the sports that fit into the nightly jigsaw puzzle, Costas might disappear from the air for long stretches. On Monday night, at around 9:40 p.m. Eastern, Costas wrapped up bobsledding, and NBC headed to the final ice dancing performances. NBC went without Costas for about 90 minutes as it broadcast a dance and a commercial break, the kiss-and-cry, the next routine and a break, and on and on, until Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal.

“I don’t mind when I’m not on,” Costas said. “I will do as much or as little as you need me to do. If you need to do five minutes and that gets it done, that’s fine.”

Yet here’s the key point. It doesn’t matter how long Costas is on. He is the face of NBC’s Olympic coverage.

“Bob’s impact on the Olympics is greater than the amount of minutes he’s actually seen,” said Mike Weisman, a former executive producer of NBC Sports and a longtime friend of Costas’s. “And when Bob wasn’t there, it was a major story. How many other broadcasters can you say that about?”

20 years ago: Recalling how lone camera crew captured Nancy Kerrigan’s cries of ‘Why, why?’

NBC is doing a documentary on the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding affair. It is scheduled to air on Sunday, although it could be sooner depending on what happens with the weather at the Olympics. In an interview with Mary Carillo, Kerrigan talks for the first time about the infamous whack to the knee.

You will notice footage of the infamous incident contains the Intersport logo. Here’s why. Intersport’s Gene Samuels was the only cameraman to record the historical scene below. Intersport president Charlie Besser continues to cash in on the copyrighted footage, especially this year with the 20th anniversary retrospectives. He contends the dramatic video helped lift the story to a level never seen before or since.

Besser: We were doing a live one-hour TV special previewing the OIympics. We approached Campbell’s. Their spokesperson was Nancy Kerrigan. They were interested in being a sponsor if we would do a piece on Nancy. We would tell the story of her rise. We were at Skate America in Detroit. During a practice session, (Samuels) is shooting B-roll of Nancy. Nobody else was there.

She comes off the ice and puts her skate guards on, and Gene turns off the camera. Then Gene hears the scream. He turns on the camera. The first thing he sees is her down on the ground, going ‘Why, why?’ He points the camera up and catches the two assailants running down the hall.

The police asked for the video. We had enough experience to know when you turn over video to the police, it doesn’t always stay there. The first thing we did was encode the Intersport logo into the footage. We wanted to protect it.

Would the story have been as big without the video?

Besser: I don’t think so. Everyone was able to see physical evidence of the actual attack as opposed to conjuring up something in your mind. People saw Nancy’s father carrying her away from there. There were very dramatic images. There was sound and motion to what happened. It became much more real.


Crossing the line: When sideline interview veers from forgettable to exploding Twitter

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University examined Christin Cooper’s with Bode Miller.

From the column:

Usually the postgame interviews are replete with forgettable snippets of athletes answering the how-does-it-feel questions in the heat of the moment. He or she mutters clichés about giving thanks to God and saying they couldn’t have done it without their teammates. Blah, blah, blah.

However, there are times when the postgame interview dives off the deep end and becomes more discussed than the event itself. Nothing likely will ever top Jim Gray’s World Series game “apologize now” interview with Pete Rose. Recently, ESPN’s Heather Cox took considerable heat for her excessive questioning of Jameis Winston’s off-the-field situation just minutes after Florida State won the ACC title game.

Then Sunday night, Twitter blew up in the aftermath of Bode Miller’s emotional interview with Christin Cooper during NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. After the skier won the bronze medal, Cooper persisted with questions about Miller’s dead brother until he finally broke down.

ESPN’s Keith Olbermann on his show called the interview “excruciating.” He slammed Cooper’s approach as only he can:

It was tantamount to holding up his late brother’s photo. When that didn’t get him to collapse, pointing to a picture of his late brother’s grave. Then when he finally started to break up, cutting to a live feed from his late brother’s grave.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote:

I doubt it was her intent to make him weep, but that was the effect of question overkill. Taken one at a time, each question is reasonable, and if she had asked only one of them, Miller might not have wept and fallen to his knees. But the takeaway of asking all three was that she had badgered Miller, not asked him well-chosen questions gauged with a real-time understanding of his emotions. NBC milked the situation further by keeping its cameras on the scene for more than a minute, as Miller walked away, as he was comforted by various people and as he was embraced by his wife, Morgan.

It is interesting to note that writers and broadcasters who encountered Miller a few minutes later barely touched on the brother issue during his mass interview session. Chris Dufrense of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

Here’s what I do know: Miller was fully composed when he finally got to the U.S. press station in the mixed zone.

“To hang on to a medal today, I feel really lucky and fortunate,” Miller said.

It had been well chronicled that Miller lost his brother last April to a seizure.

Miller was more emotional than usual in the mixed zone and said ”this was a hard year,” but he did not cry. No one really pushed Miller on the issue of his brother.

Miller, frankly, was not the lead story. Even he was more interested in talking about the amazing run by U.S. teammate Andrew Weibrecht, who stunningly won the silver medal.


Olbermann torches Miller interview: ‘Tantamount to holding up late brother’s photo’

No, Keith Olbermann wasn’t a fan of Christin Cooper’s interview with Bode Miller. He called it “excruciating.”

He said: “It was tantamount to holding up his late brother’s photo. When that didn’t get him to collapse, pointing to a picture of his late brother’s grave. Then when he finally started to break up, cutting to a live feed from his late brother’s grave.”

Here’s Keith.

Daring concept: In Internet world where negative sells, new site focuses on inspirational stories in amateur sports

Perhaps the founders of a new site haven’t heard. Negative sells on the Internet. Just look at my pals at Deadspin.

Thrive Sports, though, is looking to buck the trend. It is banking that there is a market for–get this–inspirational, positive stories.

Thrive Sports focuses on telling the stories of athletes who participate in amateur and Olympics-style sports. The Minneapolis-based site has been going hard on the games in Sochi with behind-the-scene tales and videos on the participants and their families.

Several stories were done by Dylan Brown, the brother of figure skater Jason Brown and my son’s good friend. Dylan wrote, “Before he was a high level skater, he was already an incredible brother and person.”

Judging by the quality of the site and an initial advertising push, Thrive Sports has some money behind it. One of its owners is Jeff Nesbit, a former director of communications for the vice-president’s office at the White House and co-creator of the Science of the Winter Olympics and the Science of NFL Football video series with NBC Sports that won the 2010 Sports Emmy for best original sports programming.

Sean Jensen serves as the managing editor. In a Q/A, he discussed the approach and goals for Thrive Sports.

What is the concept behind Thrive Sports?

Thrive Sports is a media hub built to connect sports fans, athletes, and world-class sports organizations from around the world. We aim to originate and curate pieces that engage and inspire sports fans through pictures, stories and videos. We want to provide avid fans of less mainstream sports a forum to share and connect – while also bringing something fresh to the stories that are already getting attention.

Why did the site decide to concentrate on amateur sports? What makes you think there will be enough interest in amateur sports to sustain the site?

Thrive Sports has chosen to focus on amateur and Olympic style sports to provide a unique platform for athletes and international sports organizations that typically only receive attention once every few years. We want to become the go-to site where fans, athletes and coaches of sports that don’t get year-round attention can connect to stay on top of relevant news and feature stories. New sports and athletic trends are constantly cropping up, with a passionate base of fans, and we desire to identify those and shine a national and international spotlight on them.

Can positive sell?

Different strokes for different folks; there’s plenty of websites that serve different audiences. Everyone is looking for an edge in life, to benefit them personally, professionally or recreationally. We are in the business of inspiration, and we are encouraged by the success of a site such as Upworthy.com, which proves the world is responding to weighty topics presented with an inspirational tone. We’ll address the wins and losses, the triumphs and challenges, but we’ll always aim to do so in a respectful way, not gloating, boasting or judging others.

What kind partnerships have you been able to do with athletes thus far?

Through a campaign with LockerDome called #ThriveRingsTrue, launched in the lead up to the Sochi Games, we partnered with Olympic athletes such as Ted Ligety, Gus Kenworthy, Brita Sigourney, Hilary Knight, Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux and Jess Vetter. We also partnered with other notable athletes such as Maddy Schaffrick, Kristi Leskinen, Gretchen Bleiler, Simon Dumont, Tara Lipinski and Sasha Cohen.

Three of those athletes are represented by Chicago Sports and Entertainment Partners, which represents a number of other Olympic athletes, including silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace.

We’ve also landed exclusive interviews with Tony Dungy, Jason Brown, Aja Evans, Bob Costas and countless others.

How important is the video component to the site?

Essential to what we do.

Our team produced over 50 videos for #ThriveRingsTrue. Currently, our site’s content is about 85% written and 15% video. We have working relationships with production teams across the country to provide a platform that features the best in sports programming, films and regional shows.

We are already in the process of creating original programming.

What has been the reaction to the Olympics? What will be your initial focus in the upcoming months?

These days, analytics tell you pretty quickly whether you’re on the right track or not, and our numbers have surpassed our early projections. We are already ranked in the top 100K sites, according to Quantcast. Our Facebook posts have reached over 4 million users; the LockerDome partnership has delivered our content to its 20 million monthly users and our videos are racking up tens of thousands of page views. For a site that just launched Jan. 6, we think those are very good indications that we are on to something.

In terms of what our focus will be in the coming months, after the Games, it will mirror what we’ve been doing since the numbers have validated that approach. For example, before the Olympics, we published what was the first significant profile of Chloe Kim, the 13-year-old snowboarder from California who has landed on the podium of several major events, including the X Games, but was too young to compete in Sochi. The story also included exclusive interviews with her father and her coach.

We landed the first domestic interview with Tracy Barnes, who gave up her spot on the U.S. Biathlon team to her twin sister Lanny, who had fallen ill during the qualification process.

Our writers landed interviews with athletes such as Jason Brown, Sugar Todd, John Daly, Kelly Clark and Zach Parise and shared their personal stories.

We provided the full, behind the scenes account of “Go Ligety,” the popular commercial by J.C. Penney built around Ted Ligety and C-Black of Blackstreet.

All of those stories were shared on social media and on other websites.

During the Games, we shared video of luger Kate Hansen’s pre-race dance and behind the scenes pictures of Noelle Pikus-Pace, from winning a silver medal in the skeleton to celebrating with her family, conducting interviews and even appearing in-studio with NBC. Columnist Jon Saraceno scored lengthy interviews with Bob Costas and Sage Kotsenburg’s father, who didn’t make the trip to Sochi.

We think all that shows how deeply we are already entrenched in the world of amateur sports. And we are really just getting started in our networking. Not all upstart media platforms can deliver that level of access in its infancy.

While at the Chicago Sun-Times, I was able to write significant features and profiles on a number of notable athletes, visiting the current or childhood homes of Derrick Rose, Jay Cutler, Charles Tillman and Brian Urlacher, among others. I have a passion for storytelling, and I am confident Thrive Sports can develop the relationships necessary to continue to find and tell the amazing stories.

We all know there’s no shortage of them out there.


Welcome back, old Red Eyes: Costas anxious to help NBC team

Yes, Bob Costas’ eyes still will be red tonight. Deal with it, America.

During a conference call earlier today, an upbeat Costas addressed the worst eye ailment in Olympics history.

From the call:

Welcome back, Bob. I guess one of the things people must have thought is that you stayed entirely in a very dark room for six or seven days trying to heal. But what else did you do during that time?

Bob Costas:  Well the worst three days of it I was primarily in a darkened room. There were other times when just to kind of break the monotony I would go downstairs for a little while to the restaurant of the hotel or – at night walk out on the terrace attached to the room just to get a little fresh air.

And then the second day that I was out Mark Lazarus arranged to have the NBC feed hooked up to my room so I was able to follow NBCSN, NBC, Channel 4 out of New York, KNBC out of Los Angeles. I’ll confess that at one point I caught the last minute of Syracuse vs. North Carolina State and turned away from Olympic coverage for a second to see my alma mater pull another miracle. But then I quickly went back. So I had a little ESPN so I got my CNN too. I got what I need.

And as the days went by it got progressively better. At its worst it was the light sensitivity and the blurred vision. The redness and swelling were pretty bad but they were pretty bad the last night that I was on the air too. But the light sensitivity and the blurriness is what made it impossible for me to go back on the air. As people will see tonight there’s still some redness there.

I’m better than I was but not as good as I’d like to be. In terms of being able to function I can function pretty well now, and the redness and swelling while still there are less than what they used to be.

Are you still pretty uncomfortable?

Bob Costas:  No, no, you know, I would say I’d rather not feel this way for the rest of my life but I would say on the injury list of 1-10 this is now at about a 2.

Hey, Bob. Welcome back. Was there ever a time when you were concerned that you might not get back at all during these Olympics?

Bob Costas:  I think there was probably a point three or four days ago where I thought there was maybe a 10% chance that might happen because there was one day where it kind of stalled and even seemed to go backwards for a little while. But I’ve had excellent medical care and they’ve changed the care up along the way as circumstances dictated. And so they adjusted to that.

I always thought it was likely that I would be back. I was hoping to be back on the weekend. I always thought it was likely, not certain, but likely that I’d be back today which makes sense, start of a week at least of a work week. So I thought that possibility was remote.

I know how much time and effort and research you’ve put into this. Were you feeling like I’m did all this work for nothing?

Bob Costas: My honest feeling is this: I have been lucky enough to do a lot of these dating back to ’88 in Seoul when Frank Gumble was the primetime host and I was the late night host and then all of NBC’s Olympics since ’92 in Barcelona. So my thought really wasn’t ‘oh my gosh I’m personally missing these nights on the air.’ My thought was, all the people, all my colleagues and friends who work so hard, many of them harder than I work, putting in 18-20 hour days and I just want to hold up my end of it.

You know, it’s like your team takes the field for a big game you want to be able to do your part of it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the most important part, it is the most visible part; but you want to uphold your end. And that was my frustration. I knew that Matt and Meredith would and did handle it capably.

If I had to be out Jim Bell and Mark Lazarus and I agreed that I wasn’t going to come back until I was able to do it. If that meant that I couldn’t come back until Wednesday, I wouldn’t come back until Wednesday. And if it got to the point where I couldn’t do any of the remainder of the Olympics we would have accepted that too.

I wasn’t going to come back just for the sake of coming back. But my main feeling of frustration was just that, you know, my friends and colleagues were working hard and I wasn’t a part of it.

Bob, what do you think the level of scrutiny, including how you look, is going to be tonight? Will it be more intense you think?

Bob Costas:  I have no idea but it won’t have any affect on what I do. It won’t look as bad as it did the last night I was on the air and probably it’ll look better 10 days from now but the Olympics will be over so you just go with it.

What did you think of the way your story was covered?

Bob Costas:  I only have kind of a fraction of a sense of the way it was covered. I’m just not aware of it. I don’t follow social media. And I didn’t see the vast majority of what might have been said or written. I’m aware generally and I’m aware from friends that this was viral both literally and figuratively. And, you know, I think it would have been water cooler talk no matter who the host of the Olympics was at any time because it’s such a front and center position.

If the same thing had happened to Jim McKay in 1984 people would have talked about it, it’s just that the internet didn’t exist then and there weren’t as many cable television outlets. Plus he would have been saved somewhat by an absence of high-definition TV. So you have kind of a perfect or imperfect storm of circumstance that made this a bigger deal than it was.

I really have felt uncomfortable about that. You know, I just don’t feel comfortable having anything other than the work itself be what people are talking about. But sometimes it’s just unavoidable and this was one of those very rare situations where it was unavoidable.

I’ve often said that if someone were to go on the air and recite the Gettysburg Address from memory but they wore a bowtie when they usually don’t more people would say, “Hey, what’s with the bowtie?” Or wore glasses and they usually don’t. “Hey, what about the glasses?” even though you recited the Gettysburg Address from memory backwards. You know, that’s the world we live in.

Different perspective: Ski writers, broadcasters never pressed Miller about brother

Chris Dufrense of the Tribune Olympics bureau encountered a different Bode Miller than what America saw during his emotional interview with Christin Cooper on NBC last night.

It seems for Dufrense and the other writers who covered his race, Miller’s brother wasn’t an essential theme during his mass interview with the media.

Dufrense writes:

Here’s what I do know: Miller was fully composed when he finally got to the U.S. press station in the mixed zone.

“To hang on to a medal today, I feel really lucky and fortunate,” Miller said.

It had been well chronicled that Miller lost his brother last April to a seizure.

Miller was more emotional than usual in the mixed zone and said “this was a hard year,” but he did not cry. No one really pushed Miller on the issue of his brother.

Miller, frankly, was not the lead story. Even he was more interested in talking about the amazing run by U.S. teammate Andrew Weibrecht, who stunningly won the silver medal.

Later, Dufrense writes:

Am I surprised Cooper’s interview has created such a buzz? Well yes, and no, and clearly that was her purpose.

I do think the interview and subsequent reaction undermines the story of the day, which was Weibrecht’s unbelievable result.

But hey, that’s television.