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Skating's Shibutanis make strike back at NBC's Andrea Joyce

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States perform during the ice dance short dance team event in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018.

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 00:59:05 -0500

NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

BEGGING TO DIFFER: The Shibutani siblings were having none of Andrea Joyce's assessment of their ice dancing. The NBC reporter prefaced her first interview question by saying the Americans were "not at (their) best today." Actually, Maia Shibutani said, she and her brother, Alex, thought they skated pretty well, and Alex said they were surprised by the judging. It's good that Joyce doesn't waste limited interview time fawning over her subjects. In this instance, it would have been better to start out more general and less judgmental, then ask if they took any responsibility for their scores or if they wanted to lay it all on officials.

JUMPING: Backed by a slow-motion replay, Tara Lipinski likened Japanese skater Satoko Miyahara's inability to get enough lift for a move to "jumping on a trampoline at the wrong time." Neat way of making something technical understandable.

GOLDEN RAD: Superb camera work capturing American teenager Red Gerard's gold medal in men's slopestyle snowboarding , both of his high-flying moves and depicting the tension of waiting to see whether his score would hold up. This being snowboarding, there were a couple audible F-bombs during the celebration. NBC's Mike Tirico quickly apologized to viewers.

KOREAN HOCKEY: Strong report by NBC's Mary Carillo on the first game played by the combined Korean women's ice hockey team, which was clobbered by the Swiss. She raised a provocative point: Why was the pressure of this politically fraught assignment placed on young female hockey players?

BAD WEATHER: NBC's plans for live prime-time coverage of men's downhill skiing were foiled when high winds postponed the competition . That meant for a little too much ice skating in the network's three-hour telecast.

RATINGS: The opening ceremony on Friday night reached 27.8 million viewers on NBC, a number that inched up to 28.3 million when digital viewers are added. While that's down from the 31.7 million who watched the opening ceremony in Sochi four years ago, it has to rate as positive news for the network. The opening in Pyeongchang had 6 percent more viewers than the Summer Olympics ceremony in Rio de Janiero in 2016, and it was the most watched Friday night on television since Sochi's first night four years ago. NBC's viewership peaked at 31.5 million when the U.S. team entered the stadium in South Korea.

AFTERNOON STARS: NBC's prime time draws most of the viewers and attention, but the afternoon on NBC and NBCSN provided a nice opportunity to see sports and stars usually overlooked. Saturday's highlights were the South Korean speedskater Lim Hyo-jun winning the home team's first gold and vintage performances by Germans Felix Loch in luge and biathlete Lauren Dahlmeier.

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