NBC mishandles editing of IOC president's anti-discriminatory comments

ROBERT CIANFLONE / GETTY IMAGES Meryl Davis and Charlie White compete in dance portion of team figure skating competition yesterday.
ROBERT CIANFLONE / GETTY IMAGES Meryl Davis and Charlie White compete in dance portion of team figure skating competition yesterday.
Posted: February 11, 2014

GIVEN THE controversy surrounding Russia's anti-gay laws leading into the Sochi Olympics, you would think that the last thing that NBC would do during the Opening Ceremony would be to edit out a statement by the International Olympic Committee taking a stance against those laws.

But that's exactly what the peacock network did when it edited out part of the speech by IOC president Thomas Bach during its tape-delayed broadcast.

The IOC has long been accused of taking a head-in-the-sand approach to controversy surrounding the Games so it was big for Bach to urge everyone to not discriminate. It deserves some credit when it does something correct.

This is what you did not hear Bach say on the NBC broadcast:

"The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete - no matter where you come from or what your background is. You are living together in the Olympic Village.

"You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic sport unites people.

"This is the Olympic message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society."

NBC responded by saying, "The IOC president's comments were edited for time, as were other speeches, but his message got across very clearly to viewers."

No, it didn't, but it could have.

Fixing? At Olympics?

Leave it to French sport's magazine L'Equipe to toss out the first fixing allegation at the Sochi Games.

And this one involves unlikely partners, the good Ol' USA and Olympic host "Mother Russia."

According to L'Equipe, the Eagle and the Bear are involved in an act of figure skating collusion to crush the Moose.

On Saturday, an unnamed Russian coach - those are usually the only kind quoted - told the magazine that figure skating judges from the United States would show favoritism toward Russian skaters in the pairs and team competition if Russian judges would give preferential treatment to American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Davis and White are expected to battle Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir for the gold.

Virtue and Moir are the reigning Olympic champions, while Davis and White are the world champions.

Not surprisingly, U.S. Figure Skating officials immediately denied the report, telling the Chicago Tribune, "There is no help between countries."

Russia did indeed win the team competition yesterday, but it was the favorite for the inaugural event. Canada was second and the United States got bronze.

The pairs competition is tomorrow and Wednesday, and ice dancing is next Sunday and Monday.

A spokesman for Skate Canada said the organization was aware of the L'Equipe report but was confident that the results, "will be determined where they should be - on the ice." Eh.

Medal of the day

It took 90 years and a new event, but Great Britain finally won its first Winter Olympic medal on snow, instead of ice, when 33-year-old snowboarder Jenny Jones took a bronze in the slopestyle competition.

The Brits had won 22 Winter Olympic medals but all had been on ice, including figure skating, curling, bobsleigh, skeleton and, a long time ago, ice hockey.

Britain thought it had a snow medal at the 2002 Games when Alain Baxter finished third in men's slalom but his bronze was taken away after a failed drug test.

Jones, a three-time X Games gold medalist who has worked in a cardboard factory, a doughnut shop and as a chalet maid to help fund her career, scored an 87.25 on her second run and then had to wait for 10 other boarders to go.

Only American gold medalist Jamie Anderson (95.25) and Finland's Enni Rukajarvi (92.50) scored higher.

"It feels amazing," Jones said, "I cannot believe it. I just can't believe it. I knew I was going to drop [from first] but I didn't know how far.

"We've proved what we do works, and if we can get more funding we can get more [medals]. We don't even have mountains in our country but this shows anyone can make it happen."


Email: smallwj@phillynews.com

Columns: ph.ly/Smallwood

Blog: ph.ly/DNL

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