It's no secret NBC makes significant edits to its tape-delayed broadcasts of Olympic ceremonies. We've never seen them leave out as much as they did last night, though, in excising more than 50 minutes from an already brisk Sochi closing ceremony; that left U.S. viewers seeing less than 62% of the event. We tracked down everything NBC wouldn't show you—including, once again, the parts of IOC president Thomas Bach's address they excised.
Actually, that's not fair. For the first time, NBC made the closing ceremony available for viewing as it happened live; furthermore, they've put the whole thing up for you to watch after the fact here. We must give them credit where it's due, while also acknowledging the vast majority of viewers will only ever see what their local NBC affiliate broadcast last night. That's a shame, because there were some neat things the rest of the world got to see—but NBC needed to make room for the premiere of a new sitcom.
1. Putin's Arrival
(This was not neat or interesting in any way.)
2. The Russian Military Drum Corps
(This was great.)
3. Cross-Country Skiing Medal Ceremonies
Traditionally the final distance event of the Games has its medal presentation during the closing ceremony. Last night's was special because one country dominated each medal stand; Norway for the ladies' 30km, and Russia for the mens' 50km. Tacked onto the end of this is the presentation of the new athlete members of the IOC, which NBC omitted as well.
4. Denis Matsuev
The award-winning Russian pianist performed amongst dozens of others on what seems like an exploding piano.
5. The Circus
This massive cut removed a celebration of Russia's circus history, a montage themed around "The Book of Sochi," and the playing of the Greek national and Olympic anthems.
6. Welcome To Pyeongchang
The South Korean host of our next Winter Games presented a video showing why we think it will be awesome.
7. Korean Performance, Montage
NBC aired much of the Korean delegation's performance, but not all of it. They also omitted a "thrill of victory, agony of defeat"-style montage, and most of Sochi Organizing Committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko's speech.
8. Thomas Bach
Again with this bullshit. NBC again removed the middle of the IOC president's speech, just as they had for the opening ceremony. Here's the BBC transcript of what he said that NBC edited out:
What took decades in our parts of the world was achieved here in Sochi in just seven years. I would like to thank the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin for his personal commitment to the extraordinary success of these Olympic Winter Games. The Russian Government, the Organising Committee, the Russian Olympic Committee, the IOC members in Russia, and all the people of Sochi and Russia deserve our deep gratitude. [Translated] To the success the international Olympic winter sports fed races, the national Olympic committees, the sponsors and broadcasters have greatly contributed. I'm sure they will all remember these Olympic days in Sochi. And come back to create a great sport legacy. Thank you very much to the volunteers. You volunteers with your warm smile made the sun shine for us every day. Your wonderful engagement will create the legacy of a strong civil society in Russia. Through you, through you everybody with an open mind could see the face of a new Russia. Efficient and friendly. Patriotic and open to the world.
Nothing especially controversial there, though we do note the direct praise for Putin didn't make it into our broadcast. But there's your 50-odd minutes; what should NBC have left in?