FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 21st, 2014
2014 SOCHI WINTER GAMES – FEB. 21 NBC PRIMETIME HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday in Primetime: Two-Time Gold Medalist Ted Ligety Competes in Slalom Gold Medal Final
Two-Time Bobsled Medalist Steve Holcomb in Four-Man Competition; Figure Skating’s Gala Program Featuring Performances by Gold Medalists Meryl Davis & Charlie White, reigning U.S. Champion Gracie Gold in Primetime on NBC
Team USA Faces Finland in Men’s Hockey Bronze Medal Game LIVE on NBCSN at 10 a.m. ET
All Events Live Streamed on NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile & Tablet App
Stamford, Conn, – February 21, 2014 – Highlights of Saturday’s coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games:
- NBC’s primetime presentation – which begins at 8/7c tomorrow – is highlighted by the slalom gold medal final in men’s alpine skiing where Ted Ligety looks to earn his second medal at the Sochi Games. Also highlighting primetime is the four-man bobsled, where Steve Holcomb, who led Team USA to gold in the four-man bobsled in 2010 will compete in the event.
- Also in NBC’s primetime coverage on Saturday is the figure skating gala, where the top skaters from the Sochi Games including ice dance gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, reigning U.S. Champion Gracie Gold, who placed fourth in the individual event, Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova, and silver medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea are expected to return to the ice for special exhibition performances.
- NBC’s primetime coverage on Saturday also includes Long Way Home: The Jessica Long Story, which profiles Jessica Long, a world-class swimmer, 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, and 21-year old American from a Baltimore suburb, who was born in Russia and adopted by American parents. For more information and two trailers, click here.
- NBCSN’s coverage on Saturday is highlighted by live coverage of the men’s hockey bronze medal game between Team USA and Finland at 10 a.m. ET.
Bob Costas’ essay on Ukraine:
“As these Olympic Games have continued, so too has the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic whose ruling government is supported by and loyal to Vladimir Putin. Government forces have undertaken an often brutal attempt to suppress the protests, leading to dozens of deaths in recent days even as the Olympics have gone on. There are about 40 Ukrainian athletes in Sochi. This week, the Ukrainian team requested permission from the IOC to compete with black armbands. That request was denied; though the athletes did hold a moment of silence in the Olympic Village. Then today, the Ukrainian women’s 4×6 kilometer biathlon relay team won the gold medal. An emotional scene unfolded at the finish line, and at the press conference afterwards, Ukrainian athletes asked the audience to observe a moment of silence. The head of the Ukrainian delegation, IOC member and pole vaulting legend Sergei Bubka tearfully said, ‘We won’t celebrate because it’s not time for celebration,’ though Bubka did note that the team had officially made the decision to stay at the Games because ‘We would like to raise the flag and hear the national anthem.’ When that anthem is played at tomorrow’s medal ceremony, it will represent both triumph and tragedy, especially with the specter of Russia and Putin, so much a part of the conflict as the tug-of-war continues among forces that would maintain Russian influence and those who lean towards Europe and the West.
“All this reminds us of a pair of concurrent truths. The Sochi Games have gone much better than many feared and predicted. So far, security has held fast. Venues have been praised. Athletes and spectators have almost unanimously cited the warmth and hospitality of their hosts, all of which is truly wonderful, but should not serve to obscure a larger and more lasting truth. While in many significant ways Russian citizens have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, theirs is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria, and that’s just a partial list. The Sochi Games are Vladimir Putin’s Games from their inception to their conclusion and all points in between. And if they are successful on their own terms, as appears to be the case, then at least in some quarters, it will help to burnish the image of a regime with which much of the world takes significant issue. No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities any more than a biathlon gold medal – hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is – can put out the fires in Kiev.”
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on the judging in Thursday’s ladies’ free skate competition:
Tara Lipinski: “It’s figure skating. First off, figure skating is always going to be subjective no matter what judging system it’s under. But if you really were to look and break down their scores, Adelina won in the technical score with about six points, which is a huge lead because going into this, her technical content was much higher than what Yuna had planned. Also, if you’re going to get nitpicky with the jumps, Adelina did a magnificent double axel-triple toe in the second half of her program, which you receive a 10% bonus. Yuna, much less difficulty and if you’re just going to look at the scores, that’s where it makes the difference.”
Johnny Weir: “Adelina won the night, plain and simple. She had the technical advantage going in. She performed her elements almost flawlessly – just the one element where she landed on two feet. But what the audience at home isn’t seeing is that she put that element, which is a very difficult one, triple toe loop-triple flip-double loop, in the second half of the program. She really back loaded the difficult to increase the value of the technical score; whereas Yuna kind of did everything at the beginning and did very little in the second half so it was that kind of a numbers game that they played together.
Lipinski: “Also, the grade of execution. That’s a huge part of the scoring so if you look at Adelina’s jumps they were so free and big where if you look at Yuna’s, they were a little tight.”
Lipinski on why it makes a difference if skaters do something at the beginning versus the end of the program: “Because you’re tired. Those legs, they feel heavy.
Weir: “Figure skating, it’s always been a weird little world. Kind of like when gymnastics changed from the 10.0 system to what they have now and it’s kind of a similar situation for us and the people that are in charge of making these rules, they want it to be as fair as possible. Because of all the judging scandals in figure skating, they want it to be fair so they give credit where credit’s due. So if doing a long program is similar to running a marathon in that taxation on the body, if you do something in the second half of that marathon, it’s a lot more difficult to do that in the second half than when you’re fresher.”
Lipinski: “I think where this is all coming from is that Adelina is not the most graceful skater. She has a lot of energy and power and she’s athletic whereas Yuna is the ballerina on ice. But when it comes down to it, it’s an Olympic night and you’ve got to perform the program and Yuna didn’t… I have never seen Adelina skate two clean performances like that ever. Ever.”
Weir: “Yuna skated on defense. She was trying to hold on to that title and after the short program when the scores were so close, she had to hold onto it. Adelina skated with abandon, with excitement. There was one portion of the program where she was actually waving at the judges.”
Weir on calling the figure skating gala Saturday night in primetime: “We’re bringing it with the outfits.”
Costas: “As if you haven’t to this point?”
Weir: “Just wait.”
Costas: “You know, you two really need to have your own show. If I run the network, you get your own show, but for now I don’t.”
Following are highlights from today’s NBC coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi:
18-year old women’s slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin: “Essentially what I do is look at all my favorite skiers and take their best attributes and best techniques. It’s like I’m trying to be 20 different people on the hill instead of just myself… Every day I’m trying to piece something together and make it me because I don’t ever just want to be one other skier – I wouldn’t want to be the next Lindsey Vonn or the girl-Ted Ligety – because then I’m just kind of copying someone and that’s as far as I’m ever going to get. I want to try to get farther than anybody’s ever gotten.”
Lester Holt on the women’s hockey gold medal final between Team USA and Canada: “A rollercoaster of emotions and an Olympic event to remember.”
Team USA women’s hockey forward Julie Chu on what she said to the team after losing to Canada in the gold medal final: “I think the biggest thing we talked about is that one game, one moment, doesn’t define our team. It’s really the entire journey, what we’ve been through the last four years, what we’ve been through this year as a group, and so I said that we just need to be proud of what we’ve accomplished. It doesn’t get taken away in a moment for us. We’ve gone through a lot and as a team. We have a lot to be proud of.”
Team USA women’s hockey forward Meghan Duggan on talking to the team in the locker room after the game: “We just kind of took the time to be together as a team. We all stayed in our equipment for a little bit and we pulled it in as a group and just reflected for a few minutes on what we did this year. Was it the result that we had set out for? No, we came up a little bit short, but I just reminded the girls to be proud of yourself. Be proud of what we did. Be proud of how we fought and be proud to represent America on the world stage.”
Team USA women’s hockey forward Amanda Kessel on what she was thinking going into overtime: “We obviously thought we had a good chance to win that game. We weren’t taking it for granted that we were up 2-0. I knew we had a job to finish, but I’m still not sure what happened and I think those will be some minutes that we’ll remember forever.”
Duggan on the parents in the crowd: “They’re so proud of us.”
Chu on the love and encouragement from the parents after the game: “At that point, it’s really just giving us hugs. Saying that ‘We love you and that we support you’ and that they’re proud of us.”
Team USA women’s hockey goaltender Jessie Vetter on the support from the States: “The support from back home, from family and friends and from people we’ve never met was just awesome, and I think that was something that helped us last night. Maybe a few funny tweets that got us laughing with each other but the support has been unbelievable.”
Vetter on what she would do differently: “Score more goals than the other team. It’s hockey. It’s a sport we love. It’s always a battle between us and Canada. I’m proud of how we played. We came in, we didn’t care who was on the other side, we were ready to play and I think we played a good game and at the end of the day, we’ll be happy with how we ended the game – not the way we wanted – but happy with how we played.”
Chu on being chosen at the flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony: “Absolutely humbled. Humbled at the fact that we get to represent our country – and I say ‘we’ because if I wasn’t on this team, I don’t think I would have been elected. It’s really the people around me that have defined who I am, and who have shaped me into the person I am, and am so humbled by that and so inspired by the other Team USA athletes that any one of them could have been a great representative to carry the flag for us.”
Steve Schlanger on the women’s biathlon 4x6km team relay: “They ski six kilometers all together, which is 3.5 miles, and the entire race is 15 miles spread out between four athletes. So if you want to look at this way, it’s like half the distance from Dallas to Ft. Worth, Texas, or it’s like going from downtown LA to Santa Monica – that’s the distance they’re covering tonight, But again, if you’re going the 10 West in rush hour, skiing might be quicker than driving those 15 miles in LA.”
Holt on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Rappers Delight’: “For the record, I’m not 6’1”, I’m 6’2”. But I like to think I dress to a tee and I saw the YouTube views on this one – 2.5 million and counting, only a million are mine.”
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