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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Drama gave Winter Olympics frosty feeling

Amid little worldwide fanfare, the Winter Olympics bowed out Sunday with a whimper.

Interest in the Olympics, at least the cold ones, was frigid.

The final numbers are not in, but during the first 10 days they averaged 12.2 million viewers on NBC and its affiliates. That's a 42% decline from the 2018 Games.

For those watching just on NBC, there were 10 million viewers, or a 47% drop.

The Olympics started slow and ended that way.

All of the skiing and snowboarding was on man-made snow. When it actually snowed, it messed everyone up because the courses had so much soft snow it was hard to see.

The most compelling story of the Games was 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, first because she was allowed to compete despite failing a drug test that showed she had a performance enhancement drug in her system.

Her grand finale will always be that after falling three times and finishing fourth she was left to weep alone.

Instead of comforting the sobbing skater, her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, scolded her publicly for not medaling.

For several minutes, the cameras watched as Valieva's broken heart was front and center.

Then they found Russian skater Alexandra Trusova in an all-out meltdown claiming the judges had cheated her, and she should have won gold instead of silver.

Gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova, the defending world champion and also a Russian, was the image of contentment.

Coach -- and we use the term loosely -- Tutberidze, who is being investigated by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was not seen again after walking briskly away from Valieva.

The scene was so cold-hearted that Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, held a news conference and chastised the treatment of a 15-year-old after the agony of defeat.

Overall, Team USA was OK. Nothing spectacular.

One got the feeling things were not bright when there was alarm about bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor being out of the games after testing positive for covid.

NBC bought the American media rights in 2014 for $7.75 billion and the contract runs through the 2032 Games.


When it was announced Monday that Jaylin Williams and Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr. were the SEC co-Players of the week, it was not a surprise.

Pippen leads the SEC in scoring after scoring 53 points last week, putting him ahead of JD. Notae who scored a total of 30 points in his two games.

Freshman of the week was Auburn's Jabari Smith, who averaged 29.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Tigers.

Smith is being touted as the likely second pick of the next NBA Draft, but because he didn't touch the ball the last two minutes in the loss against Arkansas, it was time to do a little research.

Smith averages a shot about every 2.5 minutes and makes one about every five minutes. Auburn guard KD Johnson shoots about every three minutes and makes one every 6.7 minutes, while teammate Wendell Green Jr. takes a shot every four minutes and makes one about every six.

However, Walker Kessler takes a shot about every three minutes and makes one every two minutes.

How does that compare with Williams? Williams takes a shot about every four minutes -- three Razorbacks lead him in shots taken -- and makes one about every eight, but he's also made 73 of 104 free throws, averages 9.6 rebounds and has 74 assists.

His most incredible stat is he averages taking a charge every 20 minutes.

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