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Games continue but more somber

As Bob Costas said at the beginning of NBC's prime-time broadcast Saturday, "The Games will go on and so will we."

NBC's approach in the aftermath of the bombing at Centennial Park did not change dramatically.

"I told our people that we should be engaged in covering the competition," NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol said. "When there are exciting moments, get excited. But the one gene they should lose today is the humor gene."

Like the opening music, a toned-down version of John Williams' Olympic theme, Costas came on air with a far more somber approach. NBC recapped the day's tragedy, then moved to event coverage.

Some athletes mentioned the bombing in post-race interviews. Gail Devers, victor in the 100 meters, mentioned the victims without being prompted. Gwen Torrence commented after NBC reporter Cris Collinsworth asked for her reaction.

For the most part, however, the shocking act of terrorism took a back seat to the excitement generated by the night's events. NBC had a difficult task. On one hand, it risked trivializing the tragedy by overemphasizing the importance of the Games. On the other hand, allowing the bombing to overshadow everything would be letting terrorism win.

Given the high attendance at venues, it appeared the Games served as a needed escape.

Earlier, NBC's Tom Brokaw said, "You have to go forward because if you don't, you are being held hostage by what may be a lone lunatic out there who said, "I brought the Olympics to a halt by setting off that bomb.' "

_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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