Two BILLION people watch Usain Bolt's win... but none of them in America: Sports fans outraged as NBC fails to show 100m final live on TV

  • NBC chose not to air the historic 100m final live, saving the footage for their prime-time recap Sunday evening
  • Comes as network faces continued criticism over their coverage of the London Games
  • Jamaican runner Usain Bolt set an Olympic record in the event, running it in 9.63 seconds
  • 20 million people tune in to BBC1 to watch fastest man ever in action

An estimated two billion people around the world saw Jamaica's Usain Bolt thrash his rivals to win gold in the men's 100m final - but none of them were in the U.S., as NBC declined to broadcast the historic moment live.

Bolt sailed through the semi-finals before successfully defending his Olympic title - against a field that included three Americans - at 4.50pm EDT.

But, not for the first time this Games, NBC took the controversial decision to hold off broadcasting the hugely popular event until prime time, leaving millions of track and field fans outraged.

Fastest man: Americans were not able to watch Jamaica's Usain Bolt, right, thrash his rivals in the 100m finals live

Celebrating: Usain Bolt, pictured, celebrates after winning the men's 100m final

Fans desperate to see the 25-year-old set the track on fire again, four years after his superb performance in Beijing, took to Twitter to vent their anger, using the hashtag #NBCfails.

'How can NBC be so inept? How many senior execs will be canned? How high will the cleaning go? It'll probably be delayed,' one user tweeted.

Another wrote: 'Thank you NBC for showing Bolt winning the 100 meter finals instead of woman vollyball (sic) and horses. wait you didn't.'

'Would have been nice if NBC chose to broadcast it live. NBC really values its audience,' a fellow track fan tweeted.

In an Olympic record time of 9.63 seconds, Bolt sensationally defended his coveted title as the fastest man on the planet.

A global TV audience estimated at up to two billion watched the Jamaican retain his 100-metre sprint crown but Americans weren't among them.

Strides ahead: Bolt, centre, upheld his title in the 100m dash this afternoon

Outright winner: Usain Bolt streaks clear of the field to claim gold from lane seven in one of the most eagerly awaited Olympic events ever


An audience of 20 million people watched Usain Bolt win gold in the men’s 100m final, according to BBC figures.

Overnight ratings showed 19.4 million tuned in to BBC1 to see the race, with another 600,000 watching via the red button service.

The BBC’s Olympics boss, Roger Mosey, said the figures were 'sensational'.

Last night’s audience was the biggest for the games so far, outstripping the 17.1 million who watched Mo Farah win the 10,000m on Saturday night.
The games have consistently pulled in massive audiences for the BBC, with more than 16 million people watching Jessica Ennis triumph in the heptathlon and 15.6 million watching Greg Rutherford’s long jump gold.

Figures released by the corporation also show record numbers watching the coverage online with its website recording a peak audience of 8 million - above the previous record of 5.7 million.

More than 1.5 million people have downloaded the BBC’s Olympics app for their phone and around 17 million people have used one of the 24 red button streams.

The website has seen 29 million requests for its interactive video streams with video of Bradley Wiggins’ win being the single most popular, with 729,000 requests.

Mr Mosey told followers on Twitter that Andy Murray’s victory over Roger Federer in the men’s singles was watched by 10.7 million people.

The race had been billed ‘the greatest’ race of London 2012 – and it was certainly the most anticipated.

The latest blunder comes after NBC's employees started turning on the network’s much-criticised Olympics coverage.

Dan Hicken, who has been the sports director of NBC affiliate 12 News in Jacksonville since 1991, lost his temper live on air in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Hicken launched an attack on the network's Olympics anchor Bob Costas, whose tape-delayed broadcast overran by seven minutes and interrupted his show.

'He does it every four years,' Hicken said of Costas, who has has been the prime-time host of a record nine Olympic games.

Champion again: Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win gold in the men's 100-metre final in the Olympic Stadium in London

World order: American bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (left) can only look on with envy as Jamaica's Usain Bolt (right) rewrites Olympic history once again

'Bob doesn't know that 12 o'clock means 12 o'clock. It doesn’t mean 12:02, it doesn’t mean 12:04, it certainly doesn’t mean 12:07.

'Bob, when it’s 12 o’clock, you say goodnight. You don’t care because you’re sleeping right now.'

Hicken said his team was working really hard for Costas, his 'NBC family'.

'I’m glad we had the little gymnast girls. I’m excited about it. I’m glad we got to interview Michael Phelps six times,' he added.

'It's just starting, mark my words Jacksonville. Tomorrow, it'll be 12:09, 12:11, he starts to push it that Bob does.'

But he ended his rant on a more light-hearted note, adding: 'I love him, though,' Hicken added. 'He’s a great broadcaster.'

NBC has come under fire for their Olympics coverage.

Fighting fit: Usain Bolt, who had been troubled by a hamstring injury, claimed he was only 95 per cent fit but he looked in fine condition before the eagerly awaited final

Golden boy: The Olympic champion in typical pose with the Olympic mascot

On fire: Usain Bolt runs past the Olympic flame after winning the sprint final for Jamaica in scintillating fashion

Twitter has been flooded with gripes about NBC keeping most day's marquee events off the air until they can be shown in prime-time, the broadcast that brings in the most viewers and advertising revenue for the network.

It was also forced to apologise after airing an ad featuring a monkey performing gymnastics, right after showing the performance of Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win Olympic gold.

Considering the hype surrounding the race before it happened, it is really surprising that NBC would have passed over the option to show it live.

The race had been billed as the ‘hottest ticket’ of London 2012 with people paying prices of up to £725 to be among those in the stadium who could forever say 'I was there'.

In Britain alone the TV audience was expected to be about 15million – a quarter of all Britons – with theatres and cinemas putting on special screenings that had begun in time to the semi-finals earlier in the evening.

Despite earlier heavy rain and soggy conditions, thousands who had been at other venues inside the Olympic park on so-called ‘Super Sunday’ and ‘Showdown Sunday’ stayed to watch the race on the big screens.

Among those cheering the athletes on were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who joined in a standing ovation.

By Royal appointment: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, sitting in front of the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, were among the 80,000 spectators inside the Olympic Stadium

Behind Bolt: Prince Harry wore Jamaican colours as he accompanied his brother and sister-in-law at the athletics

A shower of flashbulbs lit up the stadium as Bolt settled into his blocks at the start line as the crowd took photographs.

It stopped for the time it took him to run the 100m and defend his Olympic title before the crowd, now on their feet, took more photographs and clapped as he went on his lap of honour.

After the race, Bolt said: 'I was happy when I went out in the first round, I felt I could do this.

'I was slightly worried about my start. It was not the best reaction in the world but I stopped worrying about it and executed it and it worked.

'I said it on the track, people can talk, all they can do is talk. When it comes to championships I bring it.

'I knew [the crowd] would be like this, I can feel that energy and I am extremely happy.'

They're off: Usain Bolt (third left) did not start well in lane seven but he was comfortably leading the field as the athletes entered the final 20 metres

Effort: The world's fastest men - Usain Bolt (second left), Justin Gatlin (left), Yohan Blake (second right) and Tyson Gay (right) - strive to reach the line first

Storming in front: Bolt (second left) crosses the finish line first, ahead of fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (second right) and bronze medallist Justin Gatlin (centre)

Speaking about his compatriot and training partner Blake, the champion said: 'In training he always works hard and pushes me.


9.58 Usain Bolt in Berlin on August 16, 2009

9.63 Usain Bolt in London on August 5, 2012

9.69 Usain Bolt in Beijing on August 16, 2008

9.69 Tyson Gay in Shanghai on Sept 20, 2009

9.71 Tyson Gay in Berlin on August 16, 2009

'I knew what I needed to do but I think he will do better next time. He is a major talent. He beat almost everybody and I know he will be more confident and do better next time.'

Blake, who won silver, said: 'Usain knows what it takes. He is a world beater and he is the fastest man in the world.

'But I got a medal in my first Olympic games and a lot of that is down to Usain and our coach.'

Bronze medallist Justin Gatlin, who won bronze in the men's 100m final, told BBC Radio 5 live: 'At this moment in time it was probably the dream race.

'It was a great race and I think there are even better ones to come.

'Usain Bolt has the best technique out there. I tried to hold on with my technique and I got back on the podium for the first time in 10 years.'

Gatlin the 2004 Olympic champion was competing in London amid controversy after serving a four-year doping ban.

He said: 'It feels good, regardless of what I have gone through. I did this for the people who support me.

'This medal is for them and they pushed me when I didn't want to push myself.'

Picture perfect: Cameras flash as spectators capture the moment that Usain Bolt left his competitors in his wake

Taking a bow: Jamaica's Usain Bolt kneels and rests his head against the track in the Olympic Stadium after recording the second-fastest time ever

Star attractions: Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt (right) and Yohan Blake (left) are mobbed by fans after winning gold and silver in the race

VIDEO: Fans in the UK thrilled at the sight of Usain Bolt's 100m victory 

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