NBC’s Favorable Coverage Of Olympic Shooting Should Be Applauded.
In today’s very fast-paced world, what happened yesterday is quickly forgotten. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games is no different. While millions watched the Olympics on television, much of what happened in London is no longer a topic of conversation, and is certainly out of the headlines. But for the shooting sports industry, the London games was a defining moment.
I’m not referring to medals won or records broken, although those were impressive. I’m referring to the amount of publicity — exposure and mass reach the shooting sports received during and since the London games.
There are times the industry sees the mainstream media as an adversary — one we must constantly defend against and keep a vigilant watch on. However, that perception is not always accurate. Yes, some in the media make a living at being adversarial, but not all of “the media” is anti-gun.
Do we actually feed that perception, making it stronger by not acknowledging positive media coverage? Do we “encourage” the anti-gun media when pro-gun stories or positive television coverage hit the airwaves, and our response is one of criticism or backhanded compliments? No matter how good it is, it’s just not good enough. Do we deserve good coverage when every effort is met with scorn?
NBC’s Olympic website still has coverage of U.S. Olympic shooters, including Vincent Hancock’s
final shot to win a gold medal, and Kim Rhode discussing her gold medal performance.
Visit www.nbcolympics.com and search “Shooting.”
The 2012 Olympics brought unprecedented television coverage of the shooting sports. A record 308 athletes from 108 countries participated in 15 shooting events. Of those 15 events, 12 event finals were broadcast in their entirety on one of NBC’s family of networks. The other three were covered in highlights. Several were broadcast live and re-aired later in the day.
That’s record-setting coverage. Never in the history of the shooting sports has there been such coverage — Olympic or otherwise. Yet, there is constant criticism of NBC and their coverage. “It should be on primetime.” “It’s just on cable and not on the network.” “They should show all the qualifying rounds.”
A Positive Light
During the Olympics, some tragic events took place in our country that could have negatively impacted the shooting sports. NBC could have pulled all coverage of the shooting sports in light of those incidents. Yet, the network chose to continue broadcasting the competitions, portraying them in a positive light.
The Women’s 50-meter 3-Position Rifle event was not scheduled to air, but when USA’s Jamie Lynn Gray set an Olympic record in the qualifying round, NBC took notice and made an on-the-spot decision. Producers and on-air talent scrambled to get into position to air the final live, giving Jamie and the sport tremendous coverage.
MSNBC interrupted their live morning coverage of the Olympics as Kelly Tilghman and I talked about Women’s Skeet. Tilghman, an anchor with the NBC Golf Channel, shot skeet when she was younger. She discussed shooting as a sport, how much fun it is and the level of athleticism it takes.
During my weeks working with the NBC Olympic staff, I found that not all producers, directors and researchers are anti-gun. More than anything, they’re curious about the shooting sports. They really don’t understand the sport and why we have such passion for it. Often, when I walked out of the broadcast booth after finishing an event, play-by-play announcers, anchors, audio technicians and other crewmembers would tell me how exciting and interesting the sport was, some asking more questions.
So, instead of criticizing NBC for not showing enough of the shooting sports, writing disgruntled op-eds or ranting on talk radio, perhaps we should try a different approach. Let NBC know how much the shooting sports were watched and enjoyed, and how we appreciated the historic amount of coverage. This is an opportunity to educate and enlighten an audience — the media — that’s never been so receptive.
Media swarm around Jamie Gray following her Olympic record-setting gold
medal performance in Women’s 3-Position Rifle. NBC carried the event’s final live.
During the 2012 Olympic Games, athletes set numerous records, including those by our U.S. Olympic shooters.
Vincent Hancock made history as the first shooter in the world to win repeat gold medals in Men’s Skeet.
Kim Rhode won the gold medal in Women’s Skeet and made Olympic history, becoming the first U.S. athlete to medal in five straight Olympics.
Jamie Gray set an Olympic record in Women’s 3-Position Rifle during qualifying and the finals, breaking a 20-year absence of American women from the event’s podium.
Matt Emmons fought hard for the bronze in Men’s 3-Position Rifle, winning his third Olympic medal in as many games.
And in looking at the overall support NBC gave the shooting sports — including our U.S. Olympic shooters — in London, I say they, too, brought home a gold medal.
So, as we continue to celebrate the outstanding performance of our athletes, let’s do the same for NBC. Let them know we appreciate their great performance and just like any great athlete, they’ll keep rising to occasion. Send your comments to: www.nbcolympics.com/contact-us.
Shari LeGate (left), NBC Shooting Analyst, and Kelly Tilghman, NBC Olympic
host, discuss Women’s Skeet live during the Olympics on the MSNBC. LeGate
was NBC’s Shooting Analyst for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. A champion
skeet shooter, she was a member of the U.S. National Team for 12 years, winning
numerous titles and medals.
Story By Shari LeGate