Olympic Reporting: How Far Is Too Far?

BY CAILIN BURKE

Bode Miller being brought to tears when questioned about his brother and Noelle Pikus-Pace abruptly questioned about her miscarriage are just two of the Olympic interviews that many have said went too far. After winning the silver in women’s skeleton, Pikus-Pace was interviewed by Meredith Vieira and instead of solely talking about her achievement, Vieira began to ask questions about the miscarriage Pikus-Pace had several years ago. Many viewers saw this as completely intrusive, and you could clearly tell Pikus-Pace was becoming upset by talking about it. When talking about why she continued in skeleton,  after planning to retire after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, she said, “Life happened,” to which Vieira responded, “You had a miscarriage.” After responding to that statement, Pikus-Pace said, “My voice started shaking even thinking about it.”

It seemed as if Pikus-Pace wasn’t prepared in that moment to talk about it, because Vieira brought up the topic so quickly and continued to ask questions about it. Although it did connect to her reasoning for continuing with the sport, as she said it was her husband’s idea to help her cope with the miscarriage, there is still questioning as to if this interview was too personal.

The full interview can be viewed here: http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/noelle-pikus-pace-we-did-it

After winning the bronze medal in the men’s super-G on Sunday, Bode Miller similarly shared a  personal post-competition interview. This time, however, it was not in the studio and occurred minutes after he found out he had won the bronze. NBC’s Christin Cooper asked him a few questions about his win, and when she asked what made this medal different from others, Miller brought up his brother, Chilly, who had passed away last year. This interview was different from Pikus-Pace’s, in that he brought up the personal topic himself, but it was the way that Cooper continued with the interview that bothered viewers. She then continued to ask him why he was showing so much emotion, which shows that she did notice Miller quickly becoming upset when talking about his brother.

However she didn’t move onto another question to dilute the situation or to help Miller regain his composure, she instead went on to ask if the performance was for his brother. As Miller started to answer the question, tears began to well up in his eyes, to the point that he was wiping them away, and before finishing his answer, Cooper asked, “When you’re looking up at the sky at the start, and we see you there, it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?” To this Miller completely broke down, didn’t answer the question, put his head down, walked away, and knelt down on the floor away from Cooper.

After the interview, many Twitter users expressed their anger toward Cooper while many articles came out on the subject as well. For the most part, these articles have all said that NBC Sports is wrong in making the Olympics coverage too emotional. However on Monday, articles have come out saying that NBC asked Bode Miller to talk about the subject and defend Cooper. Following this rumored request his Twitter account read:

interview

Although he did defend Cooper, his most recent retweet jabs at NBC Olympic’s producers which shows that he did actually find some fault in the interview. To see exactly what happened, the interview is posted below.

These interviews have been bringing forth a lot of attention and anger towards NBC producers, especially in Bode Miller’s case, and cause the public to question the true intentions of Olympic coverage. Are they trying to trying to show Olympic achievement or be more of an entertainment production by provoking athlete’s emotions?

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