Sochi 2014

NBC announces Sochi Olympics talent roster

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Bob Costas leads a record 84 Winter Olympics commentators that includes Olympians who have won a combined 35 Olympic medals.

In hockey, Mike “Doc” EmrickDave Strader and Kenny Albert will be the play-by-play voices. The analysts will be longtime NHL player, coach and analyst Eddie Olczyk, veteran Pierre McGuire and Olympic hockey champion AJ Mleczko in their third straight Winter Olympics and Brian Engblom making his Olympic debut.

Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen will host studio coverage, which includes analysts Jeremy RoenickMike MilburyKeith Jones and 2010 U.S. Olympic Team captain Natalie Darwitz.

In figure skating, play-by-play commentator Tom Hammond returns for his 11th Olympics. He’ll be joined by returning analysts Scott HamiltonSandra Bezic and Tracy Wilson as well as reporter Andrea Joyce for NBC coverage.

New NBC Olympic figure skating analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will join play-by-play commentator Terry Gannon for NBCSN figure skating coverage.

Two-time Olympic medalist Nancy Kerrigan will serve as a figure skating commentator on NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage, including on NBC and NBCSN.

Other notables:

Dan Hicks will call Alpine skiing after serving as the speed skating play-by-play voice in 2002, 2006 and 2010 following Tim Ryan‘s retirement.

Ted Robinson moves from short track to long track speed skating with Dan Jansen. Gannon will handle short track play-by-play with Apolo Ohno making his Olympic analyst debut.

Here is a full rundown:

NBC and NBCSN hosts — Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Dan Patrick, Rebecca Lowe, Lester Holt
Olympic Correspondents — Ato Boldon, Mary Carillo, Cris Collinsworth, Vladimir Pozner, David Remnick, Jimmy Roberts, Maria Sharapova
Sportsdesk Reporters — Tanith Belbin, Ben Fogle, Willie Geist, Stephanie Gosk, Nastia Liukin, Brian Shactman, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Sal Masekela
Opening Ceremony Hosts — Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira

Gold Zone — Andrew Siciliano, Ryan Burr
Olympic Ice — Russ Thaler, Sarah Hughes
Olympic News Desk — Julie Donaldson

Alpine Skiing — Dan Hicks, Todd Brooker, Christin Cooper, Steve Porino
Biathlon — Steve Schlanger, Stacey Wooley, Chad Salmela, Alex Flanagan
Bobsled/Luge/Skeleton — Leigh Diffey, Lewis Johnson, John Morgan, Duncan Kennedy, Bree Schaaf
Cross-Country Skiing — Al Trautwig, Chad Salmela, Alex Flanagan
Curling — Andrew Catalon, Jason Knapp, John Benton, Pete Fenson, Trenni Kusnierek, Fred Roggin
Figure Skating — Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic, Tracy Wilson, Andrea Joyce, Terry Gannon, Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan
Freestyle Skiing — Matt Vasgersian, Jonny Moseley, Luke Van Valin, Carolyn Manno
Hockey — Doc Emrick, Dave Strader, Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire, Brian Engblom, Liam McHugh, Kathryn Tappen, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Milbury, Keith Jones, A.J. Mleczko, Natalie Darwitz
Short Track Speed Skating — Terry Gannon, Apolo Ohno, Andrea Joyce
Ski Jumping — Bob Papa, Jeff Hastings, Randy Moss
Snowboarding — Todd Harris, Todd Richards, Tina Dixon
Speed Skating — Ted Robinson, Dan Jansen, Steve Sands

NBCSN to present more than 230 hours of Sochi Olympic coverage

South, North Korea agree to form joint Olympic team, march together

AP
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South Korea said the rival Koreas agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and have their athletes march together during the PyeongChang Olympic Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry said the Koreas reached the agreement during talks Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom.

It said athletes from the two Koreas will march together under a “unification flag” depicting their peninsula during the Opening Ceremony and will field a single women’s hockey team.

The measures require approval by the International Olympic Committee. The South Korean ministry says the two Koreas will consult with the IOC this weekend.

South Korea women’s hockey coach Sarah Murray said a joint team would be a distraction and present challenges, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“I think there is damage to our players,” the Canadian said Tuesday, according to Yonhap. “It’s hard because the players have earned their spots, and they think they deserve to go to the Olympics. Then you have people being added later. It definitely affects our players.

“This is another distraction, and we have to worry about things we can control. We can’t control this situation.

“Adding somebody so close to the Olympics is a little bit dangerous just for team chemistry because the girls have been together for so long. Teaching systems and different things … I’d have about a month to teach these (new) players the way our team plays. That makes me a little nervous.

“I hope that I am not being pressured to play (North Koreans). I am hoping we can just play the way we play and not have the influence of, ‘I need to play this player.’ I just want the best players to play. If you play your best, then you earn your ice time. Whether you’re South Korean or North Korean, they have to earn their place.”

The two Koreas marched together behind a unification flag at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

North Korea boycotted the previous Olympics held in South Korea, the Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988.

North Korea has no qualified athletes for the PyeongChang Olympics, but the IOC can invite athletes and could do so after this weekend’s meeting.

A pairs figure skating team qualified an Olympic quota spot for North Korea last fall, but the spot was given up after North Korea’s Olympic Committee did not accept the spot before a deadline.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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MORE: Canada names Olympic Opening Ceremony flag bearers

Larry Nassar hears testimony at sentencing: ‘You are a repulsive liar’

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — One after one, gymnasts and other victims of a disgraced former sports doctor stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma Larry Nassar inflicted on them as children — one with the warning that “little girls don’t stay little forever.”

Nearly 100 women and girls planned to speak or have their statements read during an extraordinary four-day sentencing hearing.

Many of them cried as they gave the initial testimonies Tuesday.

Some requested that their identities not be made public. The judge consoled the victims and said they should not blame themselves.

“I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar,” one victim, Kyle Stephens, said to the 54-year-old Nassar who bowed his head with his eyes closed or looked away as she and others spoke.

Stephens, the first to speak, said Nassar repeatedly abused her from age 6 until age 12 during family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing.

She said he rubbed his genitals on her and digitally penetrated her, among other things. She said Nassar later denied it, and her parents believed him.

“Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens said. “They grow into strong women that … destroy your world.”

Nassar has pleaded guilty to molesting females with his hands at his Michigan State University office, his home and a Lansing-area gymnastics club.

He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Another statement came from Donna Markham, who told of how her daughter Chelsey killed herself in 2009, years after Nassar sexually abused her during a medical examination.

“It all started with him,” she said, describing her daughter’s downward spiral into drug abuse.

Victims described experiencing “searing pain” during the assaults and having feelings of shame and embarrassment.

They said it had changed their life trajectories — affecting relationships, causing them to be distrustful and leading to depression, suicidal thoughts and anger and anxiety on whether they should have spoken up sooner.

“He touched the most innocent places on my body,” said 17-year-old Jessica Thomashaw, recounting how she was sexually assaulted at ages 9 and 12. “I couldn’t be just a normal girl anymore, and I forever lost a big piece of my childhood due to his abuse.”

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who is expected to order a sentence Friday, said the system had failed them.

“You shouldn’t be angry with yourself,” she told a 31-year-old victim, who said she was assaulted almost 20 years ago. “You went to him for pain and healing, and you didn’t know. No one faults you or any other victim for that. You were a child.”

The Michigan attorney general’s office is seeking 40 to 125 years in prison for the 54-year-old Nassar.

The maximum represents a year for each of the 125 girls and women who filed reports of abuse with campus police. He already has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles on Monday said she was among the athletes sexually abused by Nassar.

Another gold medalist, Aly Raisman, tweeted Monday that she would not attend the sentencing “because it is too traumatic for me. My impact letter will be read in court in front of Nassar. I support the brave survivors. We are all in this together.”

Olympians McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas also have said they were among Nassar’s victims as teens.

In November, he admitted to digitally penetrating 10 girls, mostly under the guise of treatment, between 1998 and 2015.

As part of plea deals in two adjacent Michigan counties, he said his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls’ consent.

Nassar is scheduled to be sentenced in Eaton County in two weeks.