A population of NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (64 hours) was analyzed to determine differences between the media treatment of U.S. and non-U.S. Olympians. Results showed that U.S. athletes were highlighted at three to four times to rate their successes would suggest. In addition, American athletes were more likely to be depicted as succeeding because of their intellect, commitment, and consonance while non-American athletes were more likely to be depicted as failing because they lacked the strength and skill of other athletes. From a personality/physicality standpoint, American athletes received enhanced comments about their outgoing/extroverted nature while non-American athletes received more comments about the size and parts of their bodies. Ramifications for framing theory and Olympic nationalism research are articulated.
Angelini is with the Dept. of Communication, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Billings is with the Dept. of Telecommunication and Film, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL. MacArthur is with the Dept. of Public Relations and Journalism, Utica College, Utica, NY.