Nancy Kerrigan

Nancy Kerrigan joins NBC Olympics for Sochi; notes from media event

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Two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Nancy Kerrigan will work for NBC Olympics in Sochi.

Kerrigan, the 1992 bronze medalist and 1994 silver medalist, will serve as a figure skating analyst and appear on NBC Universal shows such as TODAY, Access Hollywood and the E! network.

Kerrigan covered the 2010 Olympics for “Entertainment Tonight.”

It was previously announced that Kerrigan would be part of an NBC documentary aired during the Sochi Olympics about the attack on her plotted by Tonya Harding‘s ex-husband.

Mary Carillo interviewed both Kerrigan and Harding for the documentary.

“It took years to convince Nancy,” Carillo said at an NBC Olympics media event Tuesday.

While Harding stayed in the spotlight as much as she could after 1994, Kerrigan has largely remained a private person.

“It’s not something you celebrate, being attacked, you know,” Kerrigan said at the media event. “I was nervous to know how things would get twisted and turned because that’s happened before.”

Why did she relent now?

“I trust Mary and producer Margaret [Grossi] to really just tell the story from my perspective,” Kerrigan said. “Instead of just assuming what my perspective would be.”

Other notes from the media event:

* The Opening Ceremony will not be streamed live but will be presented in primetime on Feb. 7 from 7:30-11:30 p.m. Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira will host with Bob Costas opening the program and New Yorker editor David Remnick, a Russia expert, serving as a correspondent.

“It’s a ceremony, it’s a pageant, it’s a theater show,” NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said. “It is not a competition. As such, we think putting Matt and Meredith there and putting the context to it, being able to explain the history and tradition and culture that’s going to be a part of it is a better viewing experience. We’re looking to maximize the overall experience for our audience.”

All competition will be streamed live. It has not been determined if the Closing Ceremony will be streamed live.

*NBC would welcome Lindsey Vonn having a role in coverage after she announced Tuesday that she would not compete in Sochi due to her knee injury.

*Previews of NBC athlete features were shown on Russian ballet and Canadian Olympic moguls champion Alexandre Bilodeau and his older brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy. In 2010, Bilodeau became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold on home soil.

Kerrigan, Harding back in news on attack anniversary

Regan Smith swims another historic backstroke time at Pro Series meet

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Regan Smith, who last summer broke both backstroke world records, put up the fastest 100m back in history outside of a major international meet or trials competition on Saturday.

Smith, a 17-year-old Minnesota high school senior, clocked 58.26 seconds to win at a Pro Series meet in Knoxville, Tenn. It tied for the 12th-fastest time in history. None of the other fastest dozen came in January, six months out from when swimmers peak for the world’s biggest events like the Olympics.

Making it more impressive: Smith did it 27 minutes after finishing second in the 200m butterfly, which she’s also expected to contest at June’s Olympic trials in Omaha.

“It actually wasn’t as bad, as I was nervous it was going to be,” Smith, whose world record is 57.57, said of the double on NBCSN. Smith entered two events per day at the three-day Knoxville meet, in part to prepare for the trials, where she is slated to race six straight days in a bid to make the Olympic team in enough events to swim eight straight days in Tokyo.

On Saturday, Smith held off fellow 17-year-old Phoebe Bacon by six tenths. Bacon beat Smith at the U.S. Open in December, posting the second-fastest time among Americans in the event for 2019.

The teen emergence puts pressure on Kathleen Baker, the Rio Olympic silver medalist who had the world record before Smith took it at worlds.

Full Knoxville results are here. USASwimming.org live streams the last night of finals Sunday at 6:30 ET.

In other events Saturday, world silver medalist Hali Flickinger overcame Smith in the 200m fly, winning in 2:08.34. Smith, third-fastest among Americans last season, was .39 behind. The second-fastest American last year, Katie Drabot, was not in the field. The top two at trials make the Olympic team.

Erika Brown beat world champion Simone Manuel in a freestyle sprint for a second straight meet, taking the 50m free in 24.57 seconds.

Brown, a University of Tennessee senior, edged Manuel by .06 and took .01 off her personal best. Brown ranked third among Americans last year behind Manuel (24.05) and Abbey Weitzeil (24.47).

Brown also defeated Manuel in the 100m free at the U.S. Open in December, moving to fourth-fastest in the U.S. last year in that event. The top six in the 100m free at trials are in line to make the Olympic team, given relay spots.

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Mikaela Shiffrin nearly makes it three-way tie for World Cup win

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Mikaela Shiffrin came .01 shy of making it a three-way tie for a World Cup giant slalom win on Saturday, confirming GS has been the most up-for-grabs discipline for either gender in recent years.

Shiffrin, beaten in her last two slaloms, had the fastest second run to place third behind co-winners Italian Federica Brignone and Slovakian Petra Vlhova in Sestriere, Italy. The reigning Olympic and World Cup champion in the GS rallied from fourth place and .42 behind after the first run.

Shiffrin still leads the World Cup overall standings by 233 points over Vlhova. The American last won Dec. 29. Though she made the podium in three of her four races since, Shiffrin expressed a lack of confidence heading into this weekend’s races at the 2006 Olympic venue.

“The most exciting thing for me is that people have stopped asking me, like, are you unbeatable?” said Shiffrin, who won a record 17 World Cup races last season and has four victories nearly halfway through this season, tied with Vlhova for most on tour. “I feel really good in GS. It’s just been a long time since [the last GS on Dec. 28].”

Vlhova earned her third victory this month after beating Shiffrin those last two slaloms. Brignone leads the GS season standings by 61 points over Shiffrin, seeking to become the sixth different woman to win that discipline title in the last six years. There are four more GS races left this season.

It’s the second straight season with a World Cup GS tie. Last Feb. 1, Shiffrin and Vlhova tied in Maribor, Slovenia.

It’s the first time the top three finishers were separated by such a small margin since the last three-way tie for a win in 2006, when Lindsey VonnMichaela Dorfmeister and Nadia Styger had the same super-G time, and fourth-place Kelly VanderBeek was .01 behind.

“Last season, I had the lucky side of the hundredths many times, so sometimes I’m not going to be on the lucky side, too,” said Shiffrin, who had three victories by .16 or tighter last season.

World Cup racing continues with a parallel giant slalom on Sunday at 5:45 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on NBC Sports Gold.

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