HIGHLIGHTS FROM NBC’S COVERAGE OF THE VANCOUVER OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES OPENING CEREMONY
“Canadians are among the friendliest, most welcoming people on Earth. I don’t see anything incompatible with saying, ‘Welcome, but now we want to kick your butt.” – NBC’s Costas
NBC Premieres “We Are The World 25 For Haiti”
VANCOUVER – Feb. 12, 2010 – NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games began with the Opening Ceremony as more than 2,500 athletes from 82 countries entered BC Place during the Parade of Nations.
Co-Host Bob Costas: “For many of the competitors, this is really the moment. Most of them arrive with no realistic expectation of winning a medal. They’re just trying to do a personal best and soak in the entire experience.”
Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, Brian Williams, Al Michaels and Tom Brokaw began NBC’s coverage by reporting on the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed earlier in the day after he crashed during a training run. The IOC dedicated the Opening Ceremony to Kumaritashvili.
Costas: “What will still be a night of celebration here, began as a very sad day — The exuberance of this opening ceremony is tinged with sadness and there will be recognition of the Georgian athlete throughout the night.”
Costas ending the broadcast: “Now on this same night as the athletes of the world gathered in celebration and the Olympic torch was rekindled, we also recall the tragic passing of a son of Georgia. To his family, to his friends, to his teammates, we extend our sorrow and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers. Goodnight from Vancouver.”
Prior to going to BC Place for Costas’ and Lauer’s call of the Ceremony, Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, presented a primer on Canada.
Brokaw: “In the long history of sovereign neighbors, there never has been a relationship as close, productive and peaceful as the U.S. and Canada.”
Costas: “Canadians are among the friendliest, most welcoming people on Earth. I don’t see anything incompatible with saying, ‘Welcome, but now we want to kick your butt.”
Lauer on Canada: “It’s hard to tell what is more of an iconic symbol of this country, the flag they’re carrying with its Maple Leaf or the Mounties themselves.”
Mary Carillo on carrying the torch in Canada: “It is a singular thrill to be a small part of something so big and beautiful. And that’s what Canada is.”
Cris Collinsworth and Dan Patrick, making his Olympic debut, served as reporters and interviewed numerous Team USA athletes, including snowboarder Shaun White, as they waited to march in the Parade of Nations.
Shaun White on the Olympics: “It’s on a whole other level. I can’t even describe it. The Opening Ceremony alone. Every step of the way it just builds and builds, and finally you compete and it all releases at one moment. It’s unbelievable. I’m just so happy and proud to be back.”
Apolo Ohno on his preparation to Michaels: “I’ve never prepared for an Olympic Games like I have these past three years.”
Tanith Belbin (of the ice dancing skating team Belbin & Agosto): “With it most likely being our last competition, we just really want to skate our best. We feel like we are the best skaters we ever have been right now. This is a great time to go out there and give it all we have.”
USA hockey defenseman Jack Johnson on attending the Opening Ceremony: “I wanted to get the full Olympic experience — I didn’t want to waste this opportunity. It’s something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”
NOTE: Johnson is a defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings and was able to attend the Opening Ceremony because he had a night off in between playing games on Thursday and Saturday nights.
WE ARE THE WORLD
NBC premiered a three-minute version of “We Are The World 25 For Haiti.” A seven-minute version will be broadcast for the first time tomorrow by NBC during Winter Olympic programming and within an unprecedented international “roadblock simulcast” on 53 U.S. and more than 100 international broadcast and cable networks at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.
NBC Universal’s 13 participating platforms include: NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Universal HD, Universal Sports, USA, Bravo, Chiller, Oxygen, Sleuth, SyFy, Telemundo, and The Weather Channel.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
NBC News’ Lester Holt interviewed United States vice president Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden following the Opening Ceremony.
Vice President Joe Biden: “It was exciting, especially the reception the U.S. team got. It was really cool — It was a kick.”
Dr. Jill Biden: “It was exhilarating.”
Costas: “We leave with a sense of appreciation and fondness.”
Lauer: “There was something for everybody and that’s in perfect keeping with this country throughout its provinces. We saw great diversity — physical diversity of the landscape and cultural diversity as well. They did it in style.”