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NBC's Olympic ratings exceed expectations

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American Idol anyone? How 'bout skiing, speed skating, and half pipe? NBC, which until Friday's Opening Ceremonies had been struggling in last place among the networks, had as good a night Wednesday as Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, and Shani Davis.

As TVbythenumbers.com points out, "NBC averaged an 8.9/23 rating/share with adults 18-49 and 29.26 million viewers overall.... It's the first time Idol had lost a single half hour to its competition since 2004." The numbers, and what they say about my fellow Americans, leave me with mixed feelings.

Ratings for NBC's Olympic coverage have been better than expected, as much as 22% higher than during the Winter Games held in Turin four years ago. The first five days of these Olympics were watched by an average of 26.4 million viewers.

This leaves me with mixed feelings. Mostly, I'm glad so many people are excited about the Games. However, these numbers only encourage NBC to stick to their torturous strategy of delaying events rather than showing them live.

True sports fans find nothing more thrilling than live competition. People would go ballistic if the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, or NBA playoffs were shown on tape delay. But apparently when it comes to Olympic sports, Americans are something less than pure sports fans. And the numbers show it.