On TV, Olympic halfpipe is a spectacular mystery

A United States fan watches the men's 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Halfpipe competition makes for spectacular, although often frustrating, viewing with the mystery of how these Olympic athletes are judged

NEW YORK — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

SNOWBOARD: The athleticism of the halfpipe snowboarders is nothing short of spectacular, but is there any Olympic sport where it's a bigger mystery how the competitors are judged? Ninety minutes of the women's event left us little closer to understanding what made some medal winners and others also-rans. Gold medalist Chloe Kim's ability was obvious. Kelly Clark's failure to win a medal was less so. NBC's Todd Richards, although he occasionally needed a translator, admirably took a stand in wondering why Clark earned the scores she did.

QUOTE: "She will go to the high school prom with the ultimate bling." — NBC's Todd Harris on the 17-year-old Kim's victory.

CHAMP: Neat comparison of Kim to Tiger Woods in his prime by NBC host Mike Tirico. "They don't always win, but they always wow you," he said.

MILLER TIME: Bode Miller knows his stuff; he can spot a wisp of wind halfway down a slope that can make or break a skier with dreams of gold. Yet he's a rookie announcer, and it shows. He delivers much of the information in a passion-free monotone, and hasn't learned the virtue of strategic silence. Miller and partner Dan Hicks delivered a torrent of words in the prime-time coverage of the men's combined event, with not enough sense of a story. Maybe it was because medals weren't being decided in the portion of the race NBC aired in prime time, but their segment lacked spark.

BEST OF OLYMPICS: It's an easy shot, and usually unfair, when people criticize NBC for being too America-centric in its coverage. Interest in the home team is natural. But it really doesn't help when a car company produces a segment that it calls the "Best of Winter Olympics" and features five athletes — all Americans.

SHAUN WHITE IS COMING! SHAUN WHITE IS COMING! The solid 45 minutes NBC spent hyping an upcoming qualifying run by the snowboarding great just left us wondering if there wasn't a better use of the time.

RATINGS: An estimated 22.8 million people watched NBC's prime-time coverage on Sunday night, the Nielsen company said. Add in people who watched NBCSN's coverage at the same time, or streamed NBC's broadcast online, and the number climbs to 25.7 million. That's pretty close to the 26.3 million who watched NBC for the first Sunday of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. After five days, NBC said it has already broken the mark of minutes streamed online that it had for the entirety of the Sochi Olympics, or 445 million total minutes streamed this year versus 420 minutes for the Sochi Games.

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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