Big moment for Fiji, captured by rugby reporters
NEW YORK (AP) Cynical about the Olympics? You must not be from Fiji.
The Pacific Island nation won its first Olympic medal ever, and it was gold, by routing Great Britain in the rugby final. It was a joy to see on NBCSN, and a great example of the benefits to searching beyond NBC's prime-time to see all that is being offered.
''It's hard to put into words how big icons these players will be,'' said NBC announcer Bill Seward on Thursday. ''Being gold medalists, they will be heroes in their country forevermore.''
The win produced an outpouring of celebrations in the stands and by players after the match. The sport is huge in Fiji, and the nation's prime minister traveled to Brazil for the games.
RATINGS: NBC reached 26.4 million people with its Wednesday prime-time telecast, dominated by swimming and beach volleyball. Add in streaming and the 1.9 million people who watched the U.S.-Australia basketball game on NBCSN, and there was a total of 28.6 million consuming Olympic content. During the corresponding night in London, NBC had 30.8 million viewers.
LEDECKY'S STROKE: During an 800-meter freestyle preliminary race Thursday afternoon, NBC swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines dissected gold medalist Katie Ledecky's swimming style in illuminating fashion, explaining what put her ahead of her rivals. ''This is the only time I get to talk about her stroke,'' Gaines said. ''She's so fast in the 400.''
FORE: NBC has clearly not been happy with the golfers who chose to stay away from Rio de Janeiro, making the Olympics' first golf competition a little less star-studded than expected. Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson cited concerns about the Zika virus; some critics have suggested concerns about a lack of prize money were in the mix, too. NBC host Mike Tirico said Thursday they were missing the chance to increase their sport's popularity worldwide. ''I'm a believer that golf needs the Olympics more than the Olympics need golf,'' he said.