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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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January 25, 2009 1:31 PM

Have the producers of "Lost" taken over NBC's figure skating coverage?

Posted by Ron Judd

We need a road map. Or a time card. Or something to help us sort out NBC's train wreck TV coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland today.

Today's episode came on at 1 p.m. PT. It's advertised as the men's free skate. First up: Johnny Weir disintegrating in his free skate today. Cut to 7 minutes of commercials.

Next up: (TIME WARP WARNING) Evan Lysacek's short program, from Friday. Cut to 7 minutes more of commercials.

After that: Still in Friday time zone, Jeremy Abbott's short program.

Next up: Who knows? Weir's short program, shown after his free skate?

How is the average fan, interested in some sort of sequential organization of a sports event, supposed to follow this? I mean, c'mon. There's nothing wrong with showing highlights of the short program to set up the free skate. But let's stick with one or the other, please.

Coming up at 2: Dick Button's 1948 compulsory figures.

Did anyone else notice this, or are we losing our minds?

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.: TIME WARP: We now appear to be back to Sunday, with the other top skaters prepping to skate their free skates, as NBC does the sort of scene-setter for the competition that you'd expect to see at the beginning of the program. No announcement about the how or why of the quantum leap. Smooth. So smooth.

UPDATE UPDATE: Ok, it's over. We can sort of see NBC's tiny logic -- perhaps. Weir, by nature of his poor performance in the short program, uncharacteristically did not skate in the final group of skater for the free skate. The final group typically all you get to see on TV. And they must have felt they needed to show Weir's free skate live.

But by doing so, then switching abruptly back in time to show the short programs, they turned the entire event on its head. Very bad call, made to look worse by the fact that Weir imploded in the free skate.

Oh, yes: Results. Great day for Colorado Springs, Colo., as Jeremy Abbott is crowned the new national champion after defending champion Evan Lysacek falls on his opening jump and falls to third. In second place was Abbott's Colorado Springs training partner, Brandon Mroz, a senior at Cheyenne Mountain High School. His debut at seniors was capped by a stellar free skate and a shocking finish. Not until the final scores were tallied for Abbott, the final skater, was Mroz bumped from first place.

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Blogroll and links

www.olympic.org: The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information.
www.nbcolympics.com: Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog
www.usolympicteam.com: U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site.
www.aroundtherings.com: Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription).
www.wcsn.com: News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions.
www.beijing2008.com: Beijing Organizing Committee Web site.
www.vancouver2010.com: Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site.
www.london2012.com: London 2012 Summer Games site.
www.sochi2014.com: Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site.
www.chicago2016.org: Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.