Safe to say NBC’s Olympic coverage is not winning any gold medals.
The network has had a series of gaffes and pitfalls in its coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, and it’s only been 3 days.
The problems began with the opening ceremony. When NBC began showing the ceremony, viewers were quick to point out that it was delayed and edited, being shown on a tape delay with NBC injecting commercials in between segments.
While NBC execs blamed sponsors and ad revenue concerns for the edited broadcast, John Miller, NBC Olympics chief marketing officer, gave an answer than infuriated many for a different reason.
“The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans,” Miller told Philly.com. “More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and mini-series wrapped into one. And to tell the truth, it has been the complaint of a few sports writers. It has not been the complaint of the vast viewing public.”
Many of the complaints about NBC’s Olympics coverage have been tied to sexism. When Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu broke the world record in her event by a stunning amount, the network invoked rage when it showed her husband and coach Shane Tusup for nearly the same amount of time as they showed her. Their relationship has been the subject of debate in the past.
NBC announcer Dan Hicks called Tusup “the man responsible” for her win, according to The Washington Post, and Twitter was not happy.
*woman breaks swimming record @ olympics*
*camera pans to her husband/trainer*
“And there’s the man responsible”
YES WE STILL NEED FEMINISM
— Katherine Ray (@AngstyAmoeba) August 8, 2016
Many were also angered when they heard NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines say that U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky swims “like a man,” but according to Slate, he was actually defending her against sexist comments.
“I love to watch her swim,” he said, according to Slate. “She has a loping-type stroke. A lot of people think she swims like a man. She swims like Katie Ledecky, for crying out loud.”
One of the strangest controversies involved one of this year’s stars on America’s Olympic gymnastics team, Simone Biles. For some reason, NBC announcer Al Trautwig tweeted that Biles’ adoptive parents were not her parents.
— Jen Talley (@jenunexpected) August 8, 2016
Ron, Simone Biles’ maternal grandfather and his wife Nellie Biles, adopted Simone Biles and her sister when they were young, according to USA Today. Trautwig apologized in a statement released Monday.
“I regret that I wasn’t more clear in my wording on the air,” he said in a statement emailed by NBC Sports, according to AP. “I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected. To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone’s parents.”