Highlights from television coverage of the Sochi Olympics:
n Fine report from NBC’s Tracy Wilson setting the stage for the last women figure skaters to compete Thursday, explaining how the routine planned by Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova was technically more difficult than that of her rivals, which apparently became a key factor in her winning the gold medal over South Korea’s Yuna Kim. Wilson also mentioned the "home-field advantage" of Sotnikova skating before a Russian audience.
n When the U.S. men’s hockey team had its memorable shootout victory over Russia last weekend, NBC adroitly adjusted its prime-time schedule that night to lead with the story, replay the overtime sessions and interview people involved. The women’s game Thursday was no less thrilling -- Bob Costas called it an "epic" -- and had higher stakes. Yet NBC opened its prime-time telecast with halfpipe semifinals before Costas did a voiceover report on the hockey game that lasted less than two minutes. No interviews. So what was the difference? Was it just because the United States lost? Was it because women athletes were competing instead of men? Both the U.S. and Canadian teams deserved better treatment for the benefit of people who were working and unable to see the game during the daytime.
n That gold medal game was seen by an estimated 1.2 million people online, generating 35 million minutes of consumption, according to NBC. That beats an NBC Olympic record set the day before.
n Cris Collinsworth did a sensitive interview with the parents of Canadian snowboarder Sarah Burke, who advocated on behalf of the women’s halfpipe as an Olympic sport but then died of injuries from a training accident in 2012 before she had the chance to compete as an Olympian. Maddie Bowman, the American who won the gold medal in the halfpipe ski competition, graciously paid an unprompted tribute to Burke when interviewed after the competition. It seemed odd, then, that NBC missed the touching tribute of halfpipe workers forming a heart in Burke’s honor, even when it appeared that some of the competitors on camera noticed it.