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

Russian Olympic medalists gifts include racehorse

Abdulrashid Sadulaev
AP
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MOSCOW (AP) — Luxury cars, apartments, even a racehorse — being an Olympic medalist in Russia can come with great material rewards but also controversy.

Under President Vladimir Putin, it’s become a tradition for Russia’s Olympic heroes to be showered with large cash sums and sometimes unwanted gifts.

On Friday, less than 24 hours after dozens of medalists were presented with BMW cars at the Kremlin by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, an advertisement appeared online offering one of them for sale, with photographs showing the car still covered in stickers celebrating Russia’s medal haul in Rio.

The advertisement offering the BMW X6 for 4.67 million rubles ($72,000) was anonymous and quickly withdrawn. It couldn’t be independently verified by The Associated Press, though Russian agency R-Sport claimed the seller was a Russian medalist who thought the car was too big and unwieldy.

Figure skater Maxim Trankov, who received a Mercedes-Benz SUV for his gold medal in 2014, said few Olympians could afford to own such cars.

“Has no one thought that these gift cars are not only liable for the tax on luxury items, but also aren’t cheap to run and earnings can’t cover it?” he wrote on Twitter. “I’d sell mine too if it came to it … Or does everyone think all sports pay as well as soccer, hockey or tennis?”

Gymnast Seda Tutkhalyan said she wouldn’t be able to drive her new BMW because at 17 years of age she was too young to have a license.

While online commenters mostly supported an athlete’s right to sell expensive Olympic gifts, many were critical of the government for a display of conspicuous consumption at the Kremlin at a time when Russia’s pension and healthcare systems are under financial strain.

It’s not fully clear how much the prizes have cost the Russian government.

State TV channel Rossiya 24 reported that the fleet of BMWs was provided by the Olympians’ Support Fund, which is backed by a group of Russia’s richest men, but that the accompanying cash prizes of tens of thousands of dollars per medalist came in part from the federal budget.

More awards are on offer from regional governments, many of which made public displays of generosity despite financial troubles of their own.

The Caucasus region of North Ossetia last month promised a free apartment for any medalists from the area, though it isn’t clear if this has happened yet.

In another grand gesture, the head of the restive Dagestan region gave Olympic wrestling champion Abdulrashid Sadulaev 6 million rubles ($93,000) in cash and a racehorse at a lavish welcoming ceremony featured on local TV.

Still, all may not be well for Sadulaev, who’s nicknamed the “Russian Tank” for his habit of crushing opponents on the wrestling mat. He’s already facing an allegation from a Moscow radio presenter of reckless driving in his eye-catching BMW.

MORE: Putin slams Russia’s Paralympic ban

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic venue progress video

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The next Olympics, the Pyeongchang Winter Games, are in 530 days.

Organizers of the first Winter Olympics in South Korea published a time-lapse video of venue construction on Thursday.

The video shows updates for the main coastal Olympic Park, including short- and long-track speed skating, figure skating and hockey arenas, the sliding center in the mountains and the Olympic Plaza, which will house the Olympic Stadium for Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

As NBC News reported, one concern is a potential lack of natural snow, which 2010 and 2014 Winter Games organizers had to deal with as well. Man-made snow is always a safety-net option.

MORE: Pyeongchang 2018 mascots unveiled