My first memory of the winter Olympics revolved around watching 15-year-old Tara Lipinski dazzle the judges and audiences everywhere with her flawless performances and radiant energy during the 1998 games. I’ve been an ardent fan of the winter Olympics ever since. With sports ranging from ice skating to bobsledding to cross country skiing, the winter Olympics boasts a full roster of interesting sports and inspiring performances. Here are a few things to know about this year’s Olympics:
1.) The Olympics Are Less Than 3 Weeks Away
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will commence on Friday, February 7 with an Opening Ceremony and end on Sunday, February 23 with a closing ceremony. During the intervening 17 days, there will be hundreds of athletics competing for their countries.
2.) NBC Will Live Stream All Events
In addition to TV coverage, NBC will live stream the games online. “Every event is going to be available live online for the first time ever in a Winter Games,” Mark Lazarus, Chairman for NBC Sports Group, stated in a press release. “We did this in London, and it was a great success for us, and for fans and viewers.”
The network is also taking advantage of social media to promote coverage of the games. They’ve partnered with Facebook and Instagram promote social media coverage of the games. NBC will post exclusive Olympic videos on Facebook throughout the games. Additionally, fans who visit the NBC Sports Facebook page can ask Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes questions during NBC’s coverage of figure skating. NBC also plans to have fun facts, trivia, polls, photo galleries, and other content related to the winter games. “Building off of our successful collaboration for the London Olympics, we have expanded our relationship to better serve Olympic fans’ insatiable appetite for Games’ content,” said NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel. “All with an eye on driving viewership to our multi-platform coverage, we will use our unique access to all aspects of the Sochi Games to ignite the Olympic conversation and engagement on Facebook.”
To see a schedule of NBC televised events during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, go to NBCOlympics.com and enter your zip code and cable provider. The website will provide a detailed, day-by-day schedule of Olympic events on NBC, plus its affiliates NBC Sports, USA, MSNBC and CNBC
3.) NBC Has U.S. Rights to the Games Through 2020
NBC isn’t going to let a good thing go! In a $4.38 dollar deal, they obtained the U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2020. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is the first in the contract. NBC will live stream the events on NBC and NBC Sports’ websites. Once again, the primetime TV schedule won’t include live events because of the time difference. Lazarus explained the decision by stating, “The time difference doesn’t allow for us to be live in primetime. We will package and curate it in a way that makes it a place that huge gatherings of family and friends want to gather and get together in front of their TV. Between that and the 12 hours a day live on NBC Sports Network, we’re in a very good position to deliver the best events to the most viewers.” This time around, there will be over 2,700 NBC employees covering the games. And there’s going to be plenty of great coverage from other sources, as well.
4.) There Are Already Some Great Underdog Stories
There are few things fans love more than rooting for the underdog. As usual, there are some great underdog stories emerging from this year’s Olympics. For starters, Jamaica’s bobsled team qualified for the games for the first time in 12 years. However, they couldn’t afford to compete in the games without raising $80,000 to cover equipment and travel costs. After bobsled team member Winston Watt set up a PayPal account to raise money for travel expenses, a fervent online crowd-funding effort took off. The efforts have raised over $125,000 so far, guaranteeing that the team will be able to travel to the Olympics. Regardless of how they place, their inspiring story could be a great sequel to the 1993 hit “Cool Runnings,” which was based on Jamaica’s first bobsled team in the 1988 Olympics.
Ivy McDowell is a blogger who writes about fashion and entertainment. Ice skating is her favorite Winter Olympic event, but she’s excited to see all of the coverage!
Photo Credits: Wikipedia