FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
NBC OLYMPICS ANNOUNCES TALENT ROSTER FOR SOCHI OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES – RECORD 85 COMMENTATORS
Matt Lauer & Meredith Vieira to Host Sochi Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony in Primetime on NBC
Games Begin Thursday, February 6 in Primetime on NBC
Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Dan Patrick, Rebecca Lowe & Lester Holt to Serve As Hosts during Competition
NBC’s Olympics Talent Roster Has Won 39 Olympic Medals, Including 11 Gold
(UPDATED 2/3/14 to reflect the addition of Lindsey Vonn and Kevin Martin) Stamford, Conn. – January 14, 2014 – Bob Costas leads 85 NBC Olympics commentators – the most ever for a Winter Olympics – as NBCUniversal presents Sochi Olympic Winter Games coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA and NBCOlympics.com.
Matt Lauer, co-anchor of TODAY, and Meredith Vieira, special correspondent for TODAY, will host the Opening Ceremony on NBC on Friday, February 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Lauer and Vieira will be joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New Yorker editor David Remnick. Lauer and Vieira will be covering their respective eighth and fourth Olympics for NBC. Costas will anchor the ceremony from the International Broadcast Center.
With more Winter Olympic events than ever before, competition for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia, will begin one day prior to the Opening Ceremony. As a result, NBC will begin its primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday, February 6, at 8 p.m. ET. This marks the first time NBC will air Olympic primetime coverage before the Opening Ceremony. The primetime broadcast on Feb. 6 is scheduled to include competition in snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s), in which two-time gold medalist Shaun White is expected to compete in slopestyle’s Olympic debut; team figure skating, which is also in the Olympics for the first time; and women’s freestyle moguls.
The overall talent lineup features the return of many of the network’s signature Olympic hosts, play-by-play commentators and analysts with Olympic experience.
NBC Olympics commentator notes:
- The roster includes Olympians who have won a combined total of 39 Olympic medals (11 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze). Team NBC would have beaten Team USA in the Vancouver medal count, ahead of Germany and Canada.
- Bob Costas, a 25-time Emmy Award winner, serves as NBC’s primetime and late night host; Al Michaels will host the daytime show on NBCSN (weekdays) and NBC (weekends) for his seventh Olympic assignment; Dan Patrick, co-host of Football Night in America and host of The Dan Patrick Show, and Rebecca Lowe, host of NBC Sports Group’s exclusive Premier League coverage including Premier League Live, will host NBCSN’s daytime weekday and weekend coverage; and NBC News’ Lester Holt will host NBC’s weekday daytime coverage.
- Among the Olympians on Team NBC: 2012 downhill skiing gold medalist Lindsey Vonn; 1994 speed skating gold medalist Dan Jansen, eight-time short track speed skating medalist Apolo Anton Ohno, 1984 figure skating gold medalist Scott Hamilton, two-time figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan, 1998 figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, 2002 figure skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes, 1998 freestyle skiing gold medalist Jonny Moseley, 2006 ice dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin, four-time track and field medalist Ato Boldon, 2008 gymnastics gold medalist Nastia Liukin and 2012 women’s tennis silver medalist and Sochi native Maria Sharapova.
- The 85 commentators will work coverage on six NBCU platforms – NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC, USA and NBCOlympics.com – the most in-depth coverage in Winter Olympics history.
FOLLOWING IS A RUNDOWN OF NBC OLYMPICS’ ON-AIR & DIGITAL TEAM:
NBC & NBCSN HOSTS:
- BOB COSTAS: The 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will be Costas’ 11th for NBC and his 10th as primetime host — U.S. television’s first 10-time Olympic primetime host (Jim McKay hosted eight times for ABC). Costas will also host NBC’s late night show, marking the second time he has hosted both primetime and late night (2000 Sydney). After serving as late night host in 1988 from Seoul, South Korea, Costas earned acclaim for his work as primetime host from Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Torino, Beijing, Vancouver and London.
- AL MICHAELS: Michaels, will work his third consecutive Olympics for NBC, serving as host of NBC’s live weekend and NBCSN’s live weekday daytime coverage from Sochi. His legendary “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” call at the men’s hockey semifinal between the U.S. Men’s team and the Soviet Union at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games 34 years ago stands as one of the most famous calls in sports history. Michaels was NBC’s daytime host at the 2010 Vancouver and 2012 London Olympics.
- DAN PATRICK: Co-host of NBC’s Football Night in America, the most-watched pre-game show in sports, Patrick will host NBCSN’s daily coverage. Patrick previously hosted NBC’s daytime coverage at the 2012 London and 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He hosts The Dan Patrick Show, a daily, nationally-syndicated radio program that is simulcast on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for digital, mobile and tablets.
- REBECCA LOWE: Lowe will make her Olympic debut as a host of NBCSN’s daily coverage. Lowe joined NBC Sports Group in 2013 as host of its exclusive Premier League coverage, including Premier League Live, NBC Sports Group’s live pre- and post-match shows.
- LESTER HOLT: NBC News’ Holt will host NBC’s weekday daytime show. The anchor of Dateline, weekend anchor of NBC Nightly News and co-anchor of NBC’s weekend edition of TODAY, Holt was a sportsdesk reporter for the 2012 London, 2010 Vancouver, 2008 Beijing and 2006 Torino Games. The award-winning broadcast journalist made his Olympic television debut as host of MSNBC’s daytime coverage during the 2004 Athens Games.
- ATO BOLDON: A four-time Olympic medalist and NBC Sports Group’s lead track and field analyst, Boldon makes his Winter Olympics debut in Sochi as a correspondent. He made his Olympic broadcast debut as a track and field analyst at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and returned in the same role for the 2012 London Olympics. Boldon was nominated for a Sports Emmy Award as “Outstanding Sports Personality” for his work at and leading up to the 2012 London Olympics, a first for a track and field analyst.
- MARY CARILLO: Sochi marks Carillo’s 12th Olympic assignment overall and ninth for NBC. She will present vignettes about the people, culture and history of the host country, stylized snapshots that bring viewers unique perspective on the place the world is visiting for two weeks. In addition, Carillo will be the host and interviewer for a documentary on Olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, featuring an exclusive interview with Kerrigan, which will air in primetime during NBC’s Sochi Winter Games coverage. Carillo was late night host and correspondent at the 2012 London Olympics, 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- CRIS COLLINSWORTH: A 14-time Emmy Award-winner and NBC’s Sunday Night Football analyst, Collinsworth will work in Sochi as an Olympic correspondent, a role he held at the 2010 Vancouver and 2008 Beijing Games. Collinsworth made his debut on NBC’s Olympic coverage as a track and field reporter at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
- VLADIMIR POZNER: Moscow-based television journalist Pozner will make his U.S. Olympic broadcasting debut as a correspondent. A prominent Russian-American commentator, Pozner will appear with Costas on the late night show, offering a Russian perspective on the Games. Pozner worked at three prior Olympics for Russian television – the 1980 Moscow Summer Games, 2006 Torino Winter Games, and in Vancouver in 2010.
- DAVID REMNICK: Pulitzer Prize-winner Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, will contribute to NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony and offer commentary for NBC News in Sochi. The former Moscow Bureau Chief for The Washington Post earned a Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction, and the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism, for his book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.
- JIMMY ROBERTS: A 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer, Roberts will reprise his role reporting on the stories of the Games, his 15th Olympic assignment. Over a career that spans more than 30 years in broadcasting and journalism, Roberts has covered major sports events including the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA Finals, Wimbledon, and all of golf’s biggest events. He currently hosts In Play with Jimmy Roberts on Golf Channel, which begins its second season on February 25.
- MARIA SHARAPOVA: Sharapova, winner of four Grand Slam singles titles and a silver medal for Russia in women’s singles at the 2012 London Olympics, returns to her hometown of Sochi to make her Olympic broadcast debut with NBC. Sharapova is one of 10 women to achieve a “Career Grand Slam”, and was the flag bearer for her native Russia at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony.
- LINDSEY VONN: Gold medal alpine skier Vonn will join NBC as an Olympic correspondent for the TODAY show and NBC Sports. As the Games unfold, Vonn will share her unique perspective on the events and the competition from an Olympian’s point of view.
SPORTSDESK REPORTERS: NBC Olympics’ sportsdesk reporters will provide insights and news and contribute to The Olympic Zone – a 30-minute nightly show that airs on NBC affiliates. The reporters, all based in Sochi, include: Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin; special correspondent for NBC News Ben Fogle; TODAY and Morning Joe co-host Willie Geist; NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk; Olympic All-Around Gymnastics Champion Nastia Liukin; CNBC reporter Brian Shactman; health and medical expert Dr. Nancy Snyderman; and action sports commentator Sal Masekela.
GOLD ZONE: Beginning on February 8, Gold Zone, an exclusive video channel on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra app, will offer more than 100 hours of whip-around coverage of the most popular live action from the Sochi Games. The channel, which will stream 7 a.m. -3 p.m. ET on most days, will allow verified viewers to experience multiple events, as they happen.
Gold Zone hosts Andrew Siciliano and Ryan Burr will provide context to what’s being streamed and will keep fans up-to-date as the action switches from event to event. To get up-to-the-minute updates on what is being featured on Gold Zone, fans can follow the dedicated twitter handle @NBC_GoldZone.
OLYMPIC ICE: Olympic Ice, a studio show available on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, will offer verified viewers a comprehensive review of all the figure skating news and highlights taking place each day during the Sochi Games. It will air at 5:30 p.m. ET on most days, from February 7-21. Russ Thaler will host the 30-minute show, and will be joined by analyst and 2002 Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater Sarah Hughes.
OLYMPIC NEWS DESK UPDATES: Hosted by Julie Donaldson, Olympic News Desk updates will stream periodically throughout the day and unauthenticated on NBCOlympics.com. They will feature the most up-to-date news, competition and highlights, from the day’s events in Sochi.
Gold Zone, Olympic Ice and Olympic Desk Updates will all be produced at NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn.
SPORT BY SPORT:
ALPINE SKIING: Dan Hicks, play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame Football and anchor of NBC’s Emmy Award-winning golf coverage and Olympic swimming, will serve as lead play-by-play commentator for alpine skiing. Olympian Todd Brooker will return to NBC Olympics as an alpine skiing analyst for the fourth time. Two-time Olympian and 1984 Olympic giant slalom silver medalist Christin Cooper returns as an alpine skiing analyst for her sixth Games. Former U.S. Ski Team downhill racer Steve Porino serves as an on-course reporter, his fourth assignment with NBC Olympics.
BIATHLON: Steve Schlanger will be the play-by-play announcer for NBC and NBCSN’s biathlon coverage. Schlanger’s broadcasting experience includes calling cycling, triathlon and open water play-by-play at the London Olympics, as well as various hockey and college basketball games for NBC Sports and events on Golf Channel. Former U.S. Biathlon Team member Chad Salmela returns for his fourth Games as a biathlon and cross-country analyst. Olympic biathlete Stacey Wooley will make her Olympic debut as a biathlon analyst. Alex Flanagan, reporter for NBC’s Football Night in America and Notre Dame Football, will be the reporter for both biathlon and cross-country skiing.
BOBSLED/LUGE/SKELETON: Leigh Diffey makes his NBC Olympics debut as the bobsled/luge/skeleton play-by-play commentator. Lewis Johnson, working his eighth Olympic Games for NBC, will be the reporter for all three disciplines. Working as analysts alongside Diffey will be former U.S. National Bobsled Team member John Morgan, who will be a bobsled analyst for his ninth consecutive Winter Olympics; three-time Olympian and World silver medalist Duncan Kennedy (luge); and 2010 Olympic bobsledder and former skeleton racer Bree Schaaf (skeleton).
CROSS-COUNTRY: Al Trautwig returns to NBC for his 10th Olympic assignment with the network and 15th Olympics overall, as the cross-country skiing play-by-play announcer. In addition to his work on biathlon, Chad Salmela will work as the analyst, and Alex Flanagan will be the reporter at cross-country. Trautwig and Salmela will also cover the cross-country phase of Nordic combined.
CURLING: Andrew Catalon returns as curling play-by-play announcer in his fourth Olympic assignment and second consecutive Winter Games. Jason Knapp will also handle play-by-play duties at curling for his second NBC Olympic assignment, having called wrestling during the London Games. John Benton will make his Olympic broadcasting debut for NBC in Sochi after serving as the lead for the U.S. Olympic Curling Team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Trenni Kusnierek, a sports anchor for CSN New England, rounds out the group as the curling reporter.
Fred Roggin will reprise his role as curling studio host for his third consecutive Winter Olympics and eighth overall NBC Olympics assignment. Roggin will be joined by analysts Kevin Martin, who skipped Team Canada to the gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and 2006 bronze medalist for Team USA, Pete Fenson.
FIGURE SKATING: Tom Hammond, working his 11th Olympics, will be the figure skating play-by-play commentator on NBC. Scott Hamilton, Olympic gold medalist and member of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, returns as an analyst for his sixth Olympic broadcast assignment. Working alongside Hamilton on NBC are analysts Sandra Bezic, a 1972 Olympian and five-time Canadian pairs champion, and Tracy Wilson, who was part of the first Canadian ice dance duo to earn an Olympic medal in 1988. Andrea Joyce, who returns for her eighth Olympic assignment with NBC, will serve as a figure skating and short track speed skating reporter.
Terry Gannon, who calls figure skating, college basketball and golf for NBC and events on Golf Channel, will handle figure skating play-by-play on NBCSN alongside analysts Johnny Weir, a two-time Olympian and three-time U.S. champion, and Tara Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist.
Nancy Kerrigan, a two-time Olympic medalist, will serve as a figure skating commentator for NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage, including on NBC and NBCSN. In addition, she will appear on numerous NBCUniversal shows and properties including TODAY, Access Hollywood and E!
FREESTYLE SKIING: Matt Vasgersian will call play-by-play for freestyle skiing in his third consecutive Winter Olympics assignment, alongside 1998 Olympic moguls gold medalist Jonny Moseley and NBC Sports Group’s Dew Tour analyst and former professional freeskier Luke Van Valin. Carolyn Manno, co-host of NBCSN’s SportsDash with Yahoo! Sports, will report from the venue.
HOCKEY: NBC Sports Group’s Emmy Award-winning lead NHL voice Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick will call play-by-play, his seventh Olympic assignment. Veteran NHL broadcaster Dave Strader will also call play-by-play, reprising his role from the 2006 Torino Olympics. In addition, Kenny Albert will serve as a hockey play-by-play commentator, his fourth consecutive Winter Olympics in that role.
Analysts for NBC Olympics’ hockey coverage include: former NHL player, coach and U.S. Olympian (1984) Eddie Olczyk; Emmy Award-winning ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire, his third straight Winter Olympics; and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst and former NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champion Brian Engblom, making his Olympic debut. Olympic hockey gold medalist AJ Mleczko returns for her third Olympic assignment as the women’s hockey game analyst.
Liam McHugh, anchor of NBCSN’s NHL Live, FNIA Coach’s Clicker, and Notre Dame Football Countdown to Kickoff, and NHL Network’s Kathryn Tappen will host the hockey studio coverage. The studio analysts for men’s hockey come from NBC Sports Group’s NHL Live team, featuring: Olympic silver medalist and two-time Olympian Jeremy Roenick; analyst and former NHL player, coach and GM Mike Milbury; and former NHL player and lead color commentator for CSN Philadelphia’s coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers, Keith Jones. Former Team USA Women’s Hockey captain and three-time Olympic medalist Natalie Darwitz will work as the women’s hockey studio analyst.
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING: In addition to calling figure skating, Terry Gannon will handle play-by-play for short track speed skating. Gannon is joined by analyst Apolo Ohno, the most-decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history. Ohno returns to NBC after serving as a reporter at the 2012 London Olympic Games. In addition to figure skating, Andrea Joyce will also be the reporter for short track speed skating.
SKI JUMPING: Bob Papa, who has announced a variety of sports for NBC Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, will voice men’s and women’s ski jumping. Papa will be joined by veteran ski jumping analyst Jeff Hastings, who reprises this role for the third consecutive Winter Olympics. NBC Sports Group’s thoroughbred racing analyst Randy Moss will serve as a ski jumping reporter, his second Olympics assignment. Women’s ski jumping makes its debut on the Olympic program at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Papa, Hastings and Moss will cover the ski jumping phase of Nordic combined.
SNOWBOARDING: Todd Harris will return for his fourth consecutive Winter Games, serving as the play-by-play announcer for men’s and women’s snowboarding, which includes halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboard cross, parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom. U.S. Olympian and World Snowboarding Champion Todd Richards, and veteran snowboarding reporter Tina Dixon, make their third appearances as an analyst and reporter, respectively.
SPEED SKATING: Ted Robinson, at his ninth Olympics overall and eighth for NBC, will be the speed skating play-by-play commentator. Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen reprises his role as speed skating analyst for the fifth consecutive Winter Olympics. Steve Sands, who serves as an anchor, reporter and interviewer for NBC and Golf Channel’s golf coverage, will be the speed skating reporter in Sochi.