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Sports

Tragedy looms over NBC coverage

NBC faced a daunting balancing act Friday night as it tried to cover the death of an Olympic luger while moving forward with the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

For the most part, the Peacocks handled it well. The network opened its nearly five-hour show with a frank, extensive news report that deployed everyone from Brian Williams to Tom Brokaw to Matt Lauer to Bob Costas.

Included in the report were several video replays of the crash. Some viewers thought it should not have been shown, but journalistically it had to be - after a warning for those who might be troubled by it.

The jarring part came when NBC veered abruptly back into its game plan for the evening, beginning with a piece narrated by Brokaw on the relationship between Canada and the U.S.

Other news outlets had the luxury of devoting all of their attention Friday into Saturday to the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, but NBC had an extravagant ceremony to present and a two-week party to kick off.

Short of the IOC canceling the festivities for the night, the network did not have much choice but to show it and celebrate it, while occasionally referencing the events of earlier in the day.

Still, there could have been a bit more of that, such as asking athletes other than just Lindsey Vonn - perhaps even someone representing the nation of Georgia - to discuss their mixed emotions.

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