Bode Miller won the bronze medal in Men’s Super G, a year after his younger brother’s death. NBC’s post-race interview crossed the fine line between Olympic schmaltz and exploitation.
Miller answers initial questions about what medaling means for him and his career. He touches on the “narrative” about his brother’s death. He begins tearing up. NBC’s Christin Cooper then prods him further.
She asks him “what’s going through your mind?” as though that wasn’t obvious. She brings up his brother again by name, asking if he won the medal specifically for his brother. She then follows that up by asking him who he was talking to when he looked up at the sky at the start of the race.
Miller can’t respond to the last question and just drops his head. Cooper puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. Because even that wasn’t enough. Cameras linger on him for nearly a full minute afterward.
The story about his brother was relevant. But the point was already apparent to the viewer in his first response. Why the emotion had to be badgered out of him further to emphasize the spectacle is unclear. Live TV judgements can be instantaneous and difficult. But this, definitely, was the wrong one.
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