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Olympics

Bob Costas Begins Sochi Olympics Coverage With Eye Infection

CostasEyeBetween the missing shower curtains, brown tap water and computer hacking affecting journalists covering the Sochi Games, NBC’s Bob Costas might have it the worst. He has an eye infection. At the start of NBC’s fortnight (+3 days) of coverage tonight Costas announced, “I woke up with my left eye swollen shut and just about as red as the Soviet flag.” Costas says he’ll be wearing glasses for the next couple of nights.

“According to NBC doctors here, it’s some kind of minor infection which should resolve itself by the weekend,” Costas added.

It’s ‘Hacker Hunting Season’ for Journalists Covering Sochi Olympics

EngelPhysical security is among the top concerns at the Sochi Olympics, but journalists are also in the cross hairs of hacking open season in a country  with some of the world’s most skilled.

In his own experiment with two new computers, it took NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel less than a minute to get hacked.

“Hackers were snooping around trying to see how secure the machines were,” Engel reported on “NBC Nightly News.”

He then received a customized email welcoming him to Sochi. When he opened it up, his computer was hijacked, with the same thing happening to his cell phone. Engel told Brian Williams the U.S. State Department has warned journalists not to expect privacy.

And it’s not just hacking that journalists need to worry about: basic living conditions are less than optimal for many, as our sister-site 10,000 words reports journalists are lodging with lack of running water, light bulbs, and door knobs.

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel‘s offer says it all. Read more

Human Rights Campaign to Track NBC’s Sochi Coverage

SochiNBC304The Hollywood Reporter’s Marisa Guthrie reports that the Human Rights Campaign will be monitoring NBC’s coverage of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws during the Sochi Olympics.

The Human Rights Campaign plans to track NBC’s coverage of Russia’s troublesome anti-gay laws during the 17 days of Olympic competition. The law makes expressions of homosexuality, or “propaganda,” illegal, putting LGBT Russians and those visiting the country in legal jeopardy, but also spurring violence against many in that community.

“NBC has a unique opportunity to report on Russia’s inhumane assault on the rights of LGBT people to the millions of American television viewers tuning in to watch the Olympic Games over the next few weeks,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement. “They’ve promised to not shy away from covering the issue, and we will hold them to their word.”

EP of NBC’s Olympics coverage Jim Bell told reporters that the coverage isn’t intended to “poke a sharp stick in anybody’s eyes,” but NBC won’t ignore the topic, leaning heavily on the resources of NBC News in the event of breaking news. Read more

Lindsey Vonn Joins ‘Today,’ NBC Sports as Olympic Correspondent

lindsey vonn nbcLindsey Vonn may not be competing in Sochi, but she will still be involved in the action: the gold medal skiier will be an Olympic correspondent for “Today” and NBC Sports during the 2014 Games.

Vonn, who made the announcement she was withdrawing from the competition on “Today” earlier this month, will be back on the show tomorrow with an update on her rehabilitation. After the official start of the Olympics on February 6, she will contribute to “Today” and to other Olympic coverage from the U.S.

NBC ‘Confident’ in Olympic Security Measures

olympics nbc_sochi1With the Olympics just two weeks away, NBC is comfortable with the security measures in place for its 2,300 employees that will travel to Sochi, the Los Angeles Times reports:

NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel, during a conference call with reporters on Thursday to discuss NBC’s television coverage plans, said he was “confident” with the level of security being marshalled by the Russian government.”We have never seen the type of security that we are seeing in Russia,” Zenkel said. “We are overwhelmed and comfortable with the amount of security that has been deployed.”

Appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman” this week, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow talked about why she won’t be traveling to Sochi: Read more

U.S. Olympic Uniforms, This Time Made in America

SochiUniforms“Today” show anchors, along with a couple members of the U.S. Olympic curling team, showed off the Opening Ceremony uniforms Amercican Olympians will wear in Sochi two weeks from tomorrow.

And this time, they were made in America.

You may recall shortly after the “Today” show revealed the 2012 Olympic uniforms, ABC News reported the duds were made in China. The uproar was fast and loud. “I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told ABC News at the time.

“We heard it and we wanted to make right,” said a Ralph Lauren executive this morning on “Today.” “We’re just so proud, working with vendors from across America, across every state, people who have such passion to contribute to this team.”

Ralph Lauren designers were inspired by classic Americana patchwork quilts for the handmade, stars and stripes patterned sweaters. You’ll be able to buy them as well, with proceeds going back to the U.S. Olympic team.

Did ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Just Scoop NBC with Putin Interview?

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is in Sochi, Russia today where he got an interview with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Sochi Olympics, as you are well aware, are on the networks and stations of NBCUniversal, so Stephanopoulos getting this interview ahead of NBC’s is quite a coup. Stephanopoulos asked Putin about security for the games, his position on gay rights, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and other topics. The “GMA” anchor returns from Russia today and will be hosting “This Week” Sunday as usual.

 

David Remnick Joins NBC for Sochi Olympics

contributor_davidremnickphoto2013_p300_cropDavid Remnick, the editor of the The New Yorker, has been hired by NBC Olympics boss and former “Today” EP Jim Bell for NBC’s Sochi coverage.

SI.com reports the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, a Russophile who is fluent in Russian, will offer commentary during coverage of the opening ceremony February 7 and also contribute to NBC News in other select spots.

On why he’s adding his voice to the Olympic games, Remnick cited an 18th century writer/philosopher turning down an invitation… to an orgy.

Asked why he decided to join NBC’s coverage of the Sochi Games next February, David Remnick recalled a famous Voltaire quote about turning down an invitation to an orgy, having attended one the previous night for the first time.

“You know the expression once a philosopher, twice a pervert?” said Remnick, in a phone interview on Saturday. “I think in life you ought to try something once if it is honest work and does not interfere with your main job.”

Bell thinks Remnick will bring value to the news surrounding the Olympics.
Read more

2020 Summer Olympics Go to Tokyo

The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, it was announced this afternoon by outgoing IOC president Jacques Rogge. Tokyo beat out Istanbul and Madrid as the other two possible host cities. Tokyo last held the Summer games in 1964. Japan has also twice hosted the Winter Olympics. This means the 2018 and 2020 games will both be held in Asia. The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in PyeongCheng, South Korea.

The 2020 Olympics will be the last games for NBC in its current deal as U.S. rights holder. In 2011, NBC agreed to a $4.38 billion contract with the IOC to broadcast the 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 Olympics, the most expensive television rights deal in Olympic history.

Jim Bell, the former NBC News “Today” show EP, now the EP of NBC Olympics Tweeted:

 

Jim Bell Talks About Olympics Gig

Former NBC “Today” EP Jim Bell talks to Sports Business Daily about his jump to running NBC’s Olympics coverage full-time. Bell just returned from a trip to Sochi, Russia, one of many he will make in advance of the 2014 games. Bell left “Today” this week, and was replaced by Alex Wallace as executive in charge of the program and Don Nash as EP.

Q: Why do you want this job?
Bell: Part of it goes back to being a kid and watching the Olympics, as an 11 year old, watching the Miracle on Ice. The global aspect of it is particularly appealing to me. Particularly at a time when the world could use its share of positive moments, the Olympics are a particularly great example of the world coming together. That may sound trite to some. But having done my share of Olympics, it doesn’t to me.

Bell also talked about leaving “Today”:
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