At about 10:20 last night, CBS brought out its first figure skating superstars of the Albertville Games, Natalia Mishkutienok and Artur Dmitriev of the Unified Team. And, as superstars should, they rose to the occasion.
CBS' announcers let the scene play itself out, barely interrupting, except for Scott Hamilton's excited yelps when the pair would nail another move.
Commentator Tracy Wilson recalled asking the Russian pair's coach, Tamara Moskvina why Moskvina was sticking with the pair's "Dream of Love" routine. "Why do you keep your husband?" Moskvina replied.
The Russians' victory must have been bittersweet. Did you notice the almost melancholy expression on Mishkutienok's face after she and her partner completed their magnificent long program? It was nearly the same look she wore as the two stood atop the medal stand and heard the Olympic hymn and saw the five rings raised instead of any symbols of their homeland.
Skating away: CBS didn't hold off on the U.S. pairs in the prime-time show last night. The network opened the program with Jennifer Meno and Scott Wendland, and, by, 9:10, we were seeing the last U.S. pair, Calla Urbanski and Rocky Marval.
The thrill isn't gone: The men's combined skiing competition was another well-produced presentation. As in the men's downhill earlier, the drama came from watching as a leader waited to see if subsequent skiers would snatch gold from around his neck. And a look of joy lighted up Josef Polig's face when Hubert Strolz missed a gate, five gates from the finish -- sort of the skiing equivalent of stumbling while heading around third base, I guess.
These are a few of my favorite things: Two of the better moments from last night: Seeing skier Paul Accola bury his competitor's bib in the snow after being victimized by a Val d'Isere course he can't stand. . . . CBS commentator Hamilton, during
Charles Kuralt's piece on skating moms, responding to a question about his late mother not seeing him win a gold medal at the 1984 Winter Games by saying, "She was there," helping him complete a difficult jump in Sarajevo.
Looking ahead: Our Bonnie lies after the downhill. Our Bonnie lies after the luge. Our Bonnie lies after the moguls. The wait for our Bonnie is huge.
Today is Part 2 of the Bonnie Blair Story on CBS, with the American speed skater competing in the 1,500-meter competition. As with Part 1, CBS will save Blair -- who actually will be done skating by early afternoon Eastern time -- for its prime-time show (8-11 p.m.). On Monday, we didn't see Blair compete until about the last 15 minutes. Hey, if I were Mr. CBS, I'd do the same thing. . . .
Also planned for tonight's program is a report by Mike Wallace on widespread doping of athletes by the former East German sports machine.
National ratings for CBS' Monday night's prime-time show gave the network another win. CBS had a 19.1 rating and 29 share. ABC was at 15.0/23 and CBS at 13.5/20. The 19.1 was 1 point higher than ABC's on a comparable Monday night during the 1988 Games in Calgary, Alberta. A rating measures the percentage of all television households watching a program. A share measures the percentage among homes where television is in use.