Friday, February 9th, 2018


“That’s the worst short program I’ve ever seen from Nathan Chen.” – Johnny Weir on Chen’s performance in the team event

“These are called Olympic nerves.” – Tara Lipinski on men’s short program performances in the team event

“We’re talking about two of the greatest alpine skiers of all-time. I would expect gold from both of them.” – Bode Miller on Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin

“This is a society that in the last 30 years has transformed more rapidly than almost any other country on earth.” – NBC Olympics Asia Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo on South Korea

STAMFORD, Conn. – February 8, 2018 – NBC Olympics began its primetime coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics tonight on NBC and NBCSN. Mike Tirico made his debut as NBC Olympics primetime host and opened coverage on NBC, while Liam McHugh anchored coverage on NBCSN. Tonight’s coverage was highlighted by:


  • Men’s and pairs’ short programs in the figure skating team event on NBC;


  • Freestyle skiing qualifying-round action in men’s and women’s moguls on NBC;


  • Mike Tirico discussing the cultural and geopolitical issues surrounding the PyeongChang Winter Olympics with NBC Olympics Asia Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo on NBC;


  • Mixed doubles curling round-robin action on NBCSN;


  • Training runs in alpine skiing (men’s downhill) and luge (men’s singles) on NBCSN.


Following are highlights from tonight’s evening and primetime coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on the networks of NBCUniversal:



Analyst Tara Lipinski on what competitors are feeling prior to competition: “It’s like being Charlie at the chocolate factory, and also taking one of the biggest exams of your life. It’s exhilarating, it’s humbling, it’s magic. The stakes are never higher, and you know it. You can’t escape it, you have to confront it. Your dreams come down to a matter of minutes.”

Analyst Johnny Weir: “All the blood, sweat and tears are on full display on Olympic ice. Every moment that you ever had as a kid dreaming, come down to the Olympic Games. It’s extraordinary the things that will unfold here in PyeongChang.”

Lipinski on Nathan Chen prior to his short program in the team event: “He’s the quad king. He is so special because he has revolutionized skating in the United States. All the men across the world are trying to catch up to his quad.”

Weir on Chen prior to his short program: “His skating is sublime. The artistry, the moxie, the swagger, it’s all there.”

Weir following Chen’s short program in the team event: “That’s the worst short program I’ve ever seen from Nathan Chen…disastrous…now the bronze for Team USA is in jeopardy (in the team event).”

Lipinski on Chen following his short program: “He looks very tentative and slow…he just looks so nervous. He’s been to every event, but when you step onto Olympic ice, it changes the game…the next time he steps onto the ice, you remember that as a skater.”

Analyst Scott Hamilton on Chen: “We’ve watched him practice since he’s been here…we are used to seeing him make mistakes in practice. Practice is not that important to him. But I’ve got to tell you, what you do in practice can show up in your programs, and I’ve never seen him skate like that. That was rough.”

Lipinski following performance by Mikhail Kolyada of the Olympic Athletes from Russia: “Another disappointing performance. Every skater wants to grab a gold medal here in this team event. But on the bright side, at least it’s giving these skaters a chance to get the kinks out. These are called Olympic nerves.”

Weir on overall performances of the men’s short program in the team event: “This men’s final group was an all-star list, but nobody skated up to their names.”

Weir on Team USA’s Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim in the pairs’ short program: “We haven’t seen them skate that well in quite some time.”

Lipinski on Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim: “The U.S. never expected to be ahead of China and Italy in pairs. This is a really big success for a (chance at a) team medal.”



Analyst Jonny Moseley on Team USA’s Jaelin Kauf in women’s moguls: “She got it done. Not perfect, but plenty for the qualification run…and now her mom can breathe.”



The start of men’s downhill training in alpine skiing was delayed due to weather.

Analyst Bode Miller joined host Liam McHugh and previewed alpine skiing at the Games: “We’re talking about two of the greatest alpine skiers of all-time – men or women. I’d expect a lot from them. I know that they come in at different levels. Lindsey (Vonn) really peaking at the perfect time, coming in here skiing some of the best that I’ve ever seen her ski. Mikaela (Shiffrin) started off the season incredibly strong and confident, but had a hiccup coming into the Games. At the same, I think Mikaela really benefits from the energy of the Olympics. There is a lot of external stuff going on here that should be able to help her raise her game. Lindsey is no stranger to the pressure of the Olympics. I would expect gold from both of them.”

Miller on the physical strain downhill skiers endure: “If you want an idea of how that feels, stick your hand out the window of your car when you’re going 70 miles an hour. (Mauro Caviezel) is taking all of that wind in the chest there and it’s just trying to slow him down.”



Analyst Pete Fenson on Team USA’s Becca Hamilton: “In the short period of time that Becca has been involved in the sport of curling, she has developed a reputation of not just being one of the best players in the world, but one of the best sweepers in the world – male or female. And their coach, Jake Higgs, says that’s one thing that really gives this pairing an advantage over everyone else is perhaps her ability to get at the front end of a rock.”

Play-by-play commentator Bill Doleman on the growing popularity of curling: “One of the reasons for the popularity of curling increasing throughout the world is the opportunity and accessibility for fans to listen in to the strategy.”

Reporter Trenni Kusnierek on the evolution of curling: “There has been a lot of activity with equipment. A couple of years ago you would see different types and colors of material, now everything is regulated, every team is playing with the same material, everyone has the same fabric. So it has leveled the playing field, and equalized everything. I think it has brought our sport back to pure talent. It has put a lot more responsibility back into the throwers’ hands, instead of in the brushers’ hands.”


Following are excerpts from Tirico at the beginning of tonight’s primetime coverage and his conversation with NBC Olympics Asia Analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo:

Tirico on the participation of North Korea: “Among the biggest storylines heading into these games has been the participation of North Korea, which has sent 22 athletes to PyeongChang. The North Korean flag has been flying in the Olympic village, and that actually required special legal permission. But, the North Koreans and South Koreans will march under a unified flag at the Opening Ceremony, setting up a highly anticipated moment in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow night.”

Tirico on the participation of Russian athletes under the Olympic flag: “Of all the nations competing here, perhaps none will be under more scrutiny than Russia. Since 2014, the country has been at the center of a scandal, following the exposure of its state sponsored doping program. Following its investigation, the IOC announced in December that the Russian Olympic Committee would be barred from these PyeongChang Games, but Russian athletes deemed clean are eligible to compete as neutral athletes under the Olympic flag. They will be known as Olympic Athletes from Russia, hence the OAR marking you’re going to see a lot of staring at the Skating Center, right next to Team USA’s spot for the team event. So the bottom line is that Russia is not here, but the Russians are here, and if a Russian wins gold, the Olympic Anthem, not the Russian anthem, will be played.”

Ramo on the impact of North Korea’s inclusion in the PyeongChang Games: “We sit here now very close to a state that is defining so much of what people are talking about. Not just in Asia, but around the world, in terms of geopolitics. It has the potential to change these Games from something that is significant not just in sports, but in terms of a much larger historical and geopolitical picture. It’s worth remembering a little bit of recent history. As recently as last May, when the new South Korean President Moon Jae-in came in, he hoped that it might be possible to have some sort of overture to the North that would change the dynamic of these Games. He sent all sorts of messages, but nothing happened until January 1 of this year, when the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gave this speech in which he said, ‘Let’s use the Olympics as an opportunity to do something significant.’ So aside from the sports track going on here, there are a total of seven different tracks where engagement is occurring.”

Ramo on if North Korea’s participation in the Games is a diversionary tactic: “There is no question that this is an attempt to try and use this format on the (Korean) Peninsula to send a message to the world and to South Korea. What’s interesting about it is that it’s one of these moments that’s a historical moment, but we just don’t know its importance yet. We don’t know if this is a historical moment because it’s the turning of a page to a new era of peace here? Or is it a historical moment because it will be the last moment that the two Korea’s are together before something terrible happens? We will know in five or six months, but that aspect of these Games gives them a unique and significant context.”

Ramo on the growth in South Korea since the Seoul Games in 1998: “It’s dramatically different. This is an opportunity for the country to talk about a South Korea that’s different than just the North and South dynamic. I think you will very much see that expressed in the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night, and also in the dynamic around here. This is a society that in the last 30 years has transformed more rapidly than almost any other country on earth. That energetic sense of cultural creativity, of political energy, all of that will be on display here during the Games.”


Tirico closed out tonight’s primetime broadcast on NBC by paying homage to Bob Costas, who served as NBC Olympics’ primetime host at the previous 11 Olympic Games which NBC broadcast:

Tirico: “Finally tonight, a word about the host of this broadcast. Not me, but the man who sat in this seat on the primetime show at the last 11 Olympic Games – Bob Costas, who a year ago chose to end his incredible run in this role. He brought to the assignment his special mix of grace and greatness which elevated the work of the entire NBC Olympics family. So tonight, we say thank you, on a personal note, for making our transition so smooth, and on behalf of the many millions who watched over these 182 nights that Bob hosted. Thanks Bob, for making our Olympic viewing even more memorable. Now, we hope you get to experience that same joy on the other side of this camera.”


A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic Games coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032.