The TODAY show's introductory report, shown before Matt Lauer's interview of out gay Olympian Caitlin Cahow, showed heavy-handed obeisance to Kremlin interests and some crude fear-mongering by NBC's Peter Alexander, who served up comments by "longtime Olympic observer" Alan Abrahamson in his report:
Alexander: One long time Olympic Observer insists the president's decision is a significant snub.Lost in NBC's ominous fear-mongering was the obvious counterweight to any politically-motivated Russian judging: there are plenty of nonRussian judges in various sports who would be just as tempted to rule against Russian athletes for a variety of reasons which might or might not include LGBT rights.
Abrahamson: This is sending an absolute signal of complete and total disrespect for the Russian Federation and for Russian President Vladimir Putin.Alexander: Abrahamson described that American decision about its delegation as what he called a clear disregard for the International Olympic Committee as well. He warned that the move could actually impact U.S. athletes chances in Sochi, Matt, where of course, many of the competitions are JUDGED sports.
Matt Lauer: Yeah, whether it will be held against them.
Later came some rather hostile questions from TODAY show host Matt Lauer to gay U.S. Ice Hockey Olympian Caitlin Cahow, who will accompany tennis legend Billie Jean King to Sochi as part of the official U.S. delegation. (Cahow is at least as good at PR as she is at hockey):
Do you feel as if you're part of a statement?
Do you think you would have been chosen if you were not gay?
The Russians have said there will be no repercussions on any athlete, or, I guess, bystander, doing any kind of subtle protest, wearing rainbow armbands or anything like that. Do you think we're going to see a lot of protests once the games begin?
Does it distract an athlete when politics are brought into the Olympic competition?