Highlights from television coverage of the Sochi Olympics:
GOOD SEAT: Smart feature Sunday by the underused Jimmy Roberts on Irina Skvordsova, a Russian woman badly hurt in a bobsled accident who sat next to Vladimir Putin during the Olympic opening ceremony. In the story, Skvordsova said she was surprised the night of the ceremony when Putin sat next to her. If true, that's a smart use of political imagery along with a kind gesture.
MIRACLE WORKER: Time for a moratorium on “Do you believe in miracles?” Actually, it's been time for a couple of decades now. No one sent Al Trautwig the memo, and he reached for the cliche at the end of an otherwise well-called 50-kilometer men's cross country race that was a podium sweep for the Russians.
CLOSING THE RING: What a keen, self-deprecatory move from Olympic organizers having dancers in the closing ceremony form the Olympic rings, with the fifth ring mimicking the much-photographed snowflake that failed to open in the opening ceremony two weeks ago. Then the dancers filled it out. “The producers have a sense of humor,” Al Michaels said.
CRIS, MEET MARC: There's a risk in having a sports announcer (Michaels) and ex-football player (Cris Collinsworth) host your coverage of the closing ceremony. “Why are the houses upside down?” Collinsworth asked during one number, before commentator Vladimir Pozner gently introduced him to the work of artist Marc Chagall.
BOBBING FOR GOLD: During the four-man bobsled finals, NBC pulled out a brief film clip of a bobsled race from 1924 that illustrated how far the sport and its equipment had advanced. NBC's Leigh Diffey told how the sport got its name, from competitors bobbing their heads forward to get an extra edge. Great detail that added texture to the broadcast.
TWEET OF THE DAY: “Sooooo now what do I do every night with the Olympics over?”
NOW, A FINAL WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR: With the Olympics done, now we can say goodbye to that greedy babysitter, the hard-charging electric car owner and that guy who got a tattoo on his... wait, are we ever going to find out where he got the tattoo?
RATINGS: American television viewers began losing interest in the Olympics before they were actually over. The games drew 13.3 million viewers on Saturday on NBC, the smallest audience for Sochi. Saturday is traditionally the least-watched TV night of the week. The comparable Saturday in Vancouver had 20.6 million viewers, with 16.5 million viewers for the games in Italy eight years ago.
MOST TWEETED: You don't have to win gold medals to drive social media conversation. Going into Sunday, Twitter said that the Winter Olympic athlete mentioned most in tweets throughout the Sochi games was Japan's Mao Asada, who finished sixth in women's figure skating. Second was Yuna Kim, the silver medal-winning figure skater from South Korea, followed by American hockey player T.J. Oshie and snowboarder Shaun White. The Sochi Olympics were mentioned in 38.1 million tweets since the beginning of the games, Twitter said.
David Bauder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, stands next to Alexander Zubkov, gold medalist in the two-man and four-man bobsleigh for Russia, during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)