Highlights from television coverage of the Sochi Olympics:
FORESHADOWING: 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.
WHERE'S COACH?: Wonderful video from camera operator following a thrilled Sotnikova running through the bowels of the arena to find her coach and anyone else to hug. We did half expect a crew from Publisher's Clearinghouse to pop up with a big check.
HEARTBREAK: Now a U.S. hockey team knows what it's like to be on the wrong side of a miracle on ice. The women's excruciating 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the gold medal game will take a long time for its members to get over, and will long be remembered by those who watched it. "Nothing but gold waits for the winner," NBC's Mike "Doc" Emrick said as the sudden-death overtime began. He and NBC's team were like symphony conductors as the natural drama built, never getting in the way or calling attention to themselves. That's to be expected for them, but never taken for granted. What will most linger from this game are the images: a shot deflecting off an American player into the goal for a Canadian score; that puck skittering, skittering toward an empty net before hitting a post — when one inch to the right would have sealed an American victory; and, finally, the tears of those players upon realizing they'd lost a game they thought they had won.
NO EVENING LOVE: 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.