May 18 at Hartford, Connecticut: For the first time in the event’s history, three individual all-around Olympic gold medalists—Gabby Douglas (2012), Simone Biles (2016), and Sunisa Lee (2021)—graced the mats along with 13 medalists from the Olympics, World Championships, and Pan-Am Games! Fans anticipated their arrival with bated breath only to be disillusioned later; oversights in NBC coverage ensured athletes not be given a fair crack of the whip.

  • Leanne Wong’s Yurchenko Double Pike was abrupt and the camera immediately panned to Simone Biles strapping up and getting ready. (Biles stretching routines were covered in close up too, a stark contrast to all the other athletes)
  • Biles hyper focused coverage on the bars overshadowed Konnor McClain’s routine.
  •  Focus kept on Simone Biles even though the background commentary was about Gabby Douglas withdrawing.
  • More highlights of Simone were shown as well, a contrast to the others who were panned out immediately after their routines.
  • No other athlete had a critical breakdown of their vault routines except for Simone. 12 feet in the air during the vault routine was given a lot of primacy to.

Post-event @gymstan2213 took to X and criticized NBC’s coverage in the US, saying, absolutely shameful coverage from @NBCSports… the 3rd place athlete in the AA only had 2 routines shown? meanwhile we watch girls cut off their tape? there’s room for a story here and you refuse to tell it.


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Even Biles’ training center tweeted about their happiness regarding the coverage. They tweeted, “Still disappointed in the production. So few athletes being show. Only chasing narratives about big names.”

Remember when NPR.org published a detailed explanation of a similar scenario back in 2021?

They stated that the NBC network has been the International Olympic Committee’s main source of revenue, justifying the current arrangement. It was reported that 90% of the money made by the IOC is used to support international sports federations and the National Olympic Committees.

Interesting Fact: In 2021, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah had her videos of winning races taken down from Instagram. Her account was also briefly blocked. In the NPR report it was suggested that NBC and IOC may have been behind that move.

The IOC has the authority to host the Olympic Games given its affiliation with the International Sports Federations. This can be roughly understood as the ‘money-making’ entity being covered over other athletes who bring considerably less money due to their limited popularity.

In 2023, NBCU decided to extend its reach via snapchat and Twitter and give advertisers an opportunity for an incremental rise in visibility. Both social media companies individually signed the deal with NBCU for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, a far cry from how Thompson-Herah’s account was treated. Contradiction much? So, not just rigidity in decentralising media rights leading to biased air time, NBCU denies publicity rights inherent to athletes themselves.

NBC’s bias towards Biles was also highlighted by another fan on X who posted a picture of the whole rundown detailing how the Core Hydration Classics would be covered. The picture was first posted by Samantha Peszek who is an NBC broadcaster. It highlighted how only certain spots for some athletes would be covered instead of the whole routine while Biles was given specific attention, so much that even her hand tape cut was aired.

After countless event broadcasting, NBC is associated with uncovering human interest stories throughout the Olympic build-up. It’s not unusual for NBC’s coverage to focus as much on the terrible setbacks as the triumphs, but fans claim it’s difficult to follow along every time. The same sentiment is now evident on social media to the X post.

Fans drag down NBC over “embarrassing” event coverage

The Core Hydration saw Gabby Douglas and Suni Lee participate in only their second competition of the year. Lee made her comeback at the Winter Cup in February following a battle with kidney disorder last year. As for Douglas, she returned to the mat for the first time in nearly eight years at the American Classic last month. Hence, the two were deserving of the spotlight in Hartford, but NBC had already made their decision.

An honest viewer’s reaction highlighted the network’s bias. It read, “It was hideously shameful. I adore Simone but literally showing her breathing every other second, and leaving off all these amazing routines, makes no sense. I hope it gets better for Nationals but I don’t have much faith.”

Now, the distress has caused another artistic gymnastics fanatic to book a ticket and watch the action live, only to miss the NBC coverage. The second comment said, I’ll thankfully be at nationals so I won’t be at the mercy of noc and their embarrassing coverage! but as a rule, it NEEDS to be better! there’s no reason they didn’t use waiting times to show replays at the very least.”


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Even though it’s purely the exceptional skills of top athletes that have gained them recognition, NBC’s extensive coverage has also made them more vulnerable to easy narrative influence. NBC has to take responsibility for its part in this grueling process as it is the only network with this kind of power. Trinity Thomas, for instance, has been waiting her entire life for this chance to make the Olympics team, though only a quarter of her routines were shown. Noting this someone said, Hard agree!!! NBC we want routines and scores, not bad commentary while we watch the “faves” on camera drink water& gossip with their teammates. Jo was 3rd and end comments skipped over her to Jade??!!One routine from Trinity? Appalling”

Every event has unseen stories, so the network have the advantage of showcasing more than one athlete’s performance on the stage. Despite its denials to the contrary, NBC has not shown the originality or thoughtfulness needed to tell such stories. Thus, pointed out another fan, saying, “so well said. they havent a clue how many amazing storylines they could be sharing. we need gymnerd mutiny to tip the damn scales.”

While Biles did win her seventh-career Core Hydration Classic with a dominant 59.500 in all-around competition, there were other notable performances as well. Shilese Jones took the second-place podium spot with a 57.650 and Jordan Chiles won all-around bronze with a 55.450. These and many other performances by the likes of Kaliya Lincoln, Trinity Thomas and Jade Carey deserved attention.


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If any contradictory arguments with instances of favoritism happening were to be brought up, another fan was ready with receipts. Their allegation read, I remember in 2019(?) when we were “treated” to 5-10 minutes of Simone getting her ankles taped by her coach instead of seeing the routines at the National Championships.” 

For many gymnasts this year, it has been a lengthy trip back to the elite mats for their pursuit of the Olympic medal. Do you feel that NBC’s inclusive strategy merits fair exposure on a larger scale?