Pending official numbers this afternoon, it appears the Olympics at last have ended the six-year, 222-episode ratings winning streak "American Idol" had had over direct competition in its time slot.

After losing to "Idol" in the ratings race Tuesday, a huge day for American Olympic stars Wednesday lifted NBC over Fox from 9 to 10 p.m.

Sports Business Daily reported NBC won in 53 of 55 markets measured.

That hour featured the tape-delayed women's downhill, won hours earlier by Lindsey Vonn.

The delay sparked a predictable firestorm of complaints on blogs and Twitter.

Look, I'm a journalist and a sports fan, so I feel your pain. But it's funny how avid sports fans often claim they don't care about the Olympics, then blast NBC for presenting the Games as a packaged prime-time program for non-traditional fans.

This strategy, maddening as it is, clearly works for the Peacocks, who are not about to change it.

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The obvious compromise would be showing major events as they happen, then offering highlights in prime time for people unable or unwilling to watch during the day.

I have a feeling that is the approach ESPN/ABC will employ if it secures the Games of 2014 and '16.

One thing I don't get about NBC's prime time approach:

Why not have host Bob Costas offer a roundup each night of events shown on other NBC-owned channels?

That would give people who prefer to get all of their Olympic news on NBC a better sense of what else is going on in and around Vancouver.

@NewsdaySports

Hockey, for example.

Photo: Fox