NBC did something very right last night.
The network remembered the terrorist attack on Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Munich Games. NBC told the story from beginning to end, barely pausing for commercials.
No Olympics history can be told without the tragedy of Munich. Whether you never knew, needed to be reminded or wanted to forget, NBC's piece was powerful television.
The report said it had uncovered new information showing apparent cooperation between the Black September terrorists and East Germany. That information was left hanging, though.
But that's a minor point. And there was nothing minor about NBC's report. Give it a 10, give it a gold.
And, God willing, at the end of these Olympics, give thanks for a peaceful Games.
If ABC were carrying these Olympics from Barcelona, "Wide World of Sports" would have a new "agony of defeat" guy.
When American diver Matt Scoggin landed flat on his back from a 30-plus-foot platform, spines ached from coast to coast. We're sure to see Scoggin's mistake dozens of times in the upcoming months.
With any luck, we won't be hearing NBC analyst Michelle Mitchell much at all in the upcoming months. She showed the most consistency at the diving venue -- constantly repeating phrases and yakking when she should have been quiet, stepping on her partner's announcing.
Then again, last night, Mitchell was paired with good, old Mr. Red, White and Blue, Charlie Jones. When he wasn't root, root, rooting for the home team, Jones was delivering lines such as this one in response to shot showing a statue of Christopher Columbus: "The men's gold will be settled, just like Columbus settled America."
You might have noticed that the Columbus statue was pointing. I think he was showing the way out of town. Michelle, Charlie, you get the message?
After a day off, action returns to the track today and should dominate tonight's program on NBC (channels 2, 4, 7:30-midnight). Look for lots of Americans -- it shouldn't be too hard -- including Sandra Farmer-Patrick (400-meter hurdles), Quincy Watts, Steve Lewis and Morgan State's Rochelle Stevens (men's and women's 400) and Dave Johnson (decathlon).
Why is that the Olympics shown in the highlights of the MCI commercials looks more interesting than the Olympics NBC is showing?
News to us
For a change, NBC led off its prime-time telecast with news, reporting the double reversal that gave the gold in the 10,000-meter run to Moroccan Khalid Skah. News had been NTC relegated to much later in most night telecasts.
NBC's ratings for Monday night's prime-time telecast were down from the corresponding night in Seoul four years ago. Monday night drew a 16.6 rating and 31 share. Four years ago, the numbers were 19.5/37. Some of you weren't watching, and I hope you feel very guilty.
For nine prime-time telecasts, NBC is averaging 18.8/35. That is 4 and 6 percent higher, respectively, than the 18.0/33 after nine nights from Seoul.
NBC has sworn on Willard Scott's honorary AARP membership card that it will deliver a 15.3 ratings average from Barcelona.
Ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program. Shares measure the percentage among homes where television is in use. And if we can mail out refrigerator magnets containing those two sentences to all Sun subscribers before the next Olympics, I'd be eternally grateful.