February 16, 2010 at 1:32 am

Terry Foster

Detroiters are already watching Olympics

Lindsey Vonn of the United States grimaces after practicing for the downhill. (Gero Breloer/Associated Press)

Imagine a Detroit sports team playing a game in the afternoon and you don't get to see it until later that night. How upset would you be?

Oh wait. That already happens. It's called Lions Blackout Sunday.

That's the game NBC played Monday night by showing the signature men's downhill ski event about four hours after it finished. By the time American Bode Miller was shown warming up before the event we already knew he'd finished third. After Miller's run NBC tried to play up whether Miller would hang onto third place. There was no drama. We knew where he'd finish. We knew that the old man and the bumbling Canadian had failed.

I don't fault NBC for showing the downhill during prime-time television. It's the one event I wanted to see. I fault NBC for not showing it live in the afternoon and then replaying it.

Earlier that afternoon, NBC pretended as if the event never happened.

Best feature: Cris Collinsworth put things in perspective when he told us that the difference between gold medalist Didier Defago and silver medalist Aksel Lund Svindal in the men's downhill was three flaps of a hummingbird's wing. Miller missed out on silver by 21 inches.

Ratings high: Detroit did not rank among the top 25 cities with the most interest in the Olympics but still drew monster numbers that have the brass at WDIV doing back flips. Opening ceremonies drew a 21.1 rating and a 34 share. It was 15.1 and 28 Saturday and 16.5 and 26 Sunday. That means roughly one in four television sets were tuned into the Olympic Games.

"We did awesome," said Amy Binder, research director at WDIV. "It is extremely fantastic and we are thrilled. We out-delivered what we expected and nearly doubled what we did in Italy."

If you think Detroit has Olympic fever now, wait until men's ice hockey and figure skating take full effect. Those numbers are expected to increase.

Tired story I'm not tired of: Injured skier Lindsey Vonn is all over the place. She was on the "Today Show" Monday and NBC has interviewed her every day as she prepares for the women's ski events as a bruised right shin heals.

Vonn is using this opportunity to doll herself up and get more endorsements. During interviews she looks like she's walked off a runway at a fashion show rather than the ski slopes.

I am not tired of looking at her at all, although her story is overplayed. She is really good-looking.

Coolest sport: Men's snowboardcross wins easily for the night. Any time you can do a sport wearing blue jeans is good by me. The sport is like demolition derby on snowboards.

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