Destination: Beijing Olympic

Destination: Beijing Olympic
NBC’s Bob Costas Gives an Overview Of The Olympics in China

 

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The playful Olympic mascots have taken the world’s stage, and all eyes are on China, as well as the NBC coverage of the Beijing Olympics.

The Peacock Network’s goal is to create a tapestry of the events, highlighted by primetime coverage of gymnastics, swimming, beach volleyball, basketball and all the popular sports.  An unprecedented 3,600 hours of programming has begun over all of the NBC stations, affiliates and cable outlets. Plus internet coverage on NBCOlympics.com on MSN is featuring live streaming video from competitions.

 “It remains to be seen how these Beijing Olympics might change the world,” says NBC’s Primetime host Bob Costas. “But I know for sure that the world anticipates these Olympics more eagerly, and in a different way, than any Olympics I’ve been associated with since my first one in 1988 in Seoul, Korea.”

In addition to a spectacular Opening Ceremony, Costas says, “When Yao Ming leads the Chinese (basketball) team against the Americans in their very first game in the second day of competitions of the Olympics, this is going to be like a Super Bowl atmosphere. That is not an overstatement. This will absolutely be mega-big in China. And that will add to the atmosphere and the feeling of anticipation and tension and excitement that surrounds these Olympics.”

Costas further explains, “What makes the Olympics unique is that, for many of the athletes, the Olympics represent a lifetime of sacrifice for a very slim chance at a brief moment of glory.”

He points out that the Lakers lost the NBA Finals this spring, but Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson will be back this fall preparing for another title run.

 “An Olympic athlete who meets disappointment in Beijing, at best will have to wait another four years for another opportunity. But because of qualifying procedures, training cycles and, on occasion, boycotts, most athletes will never have another shot at the Olympics. They sacrifice so much of their lives, to train, to travel, to compete all for this one moment.”

Always a joy to watch are beach volleyball’s awesome twosome, gold medal winning Karri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, who have returned to the Olympics to defend their gold.

Of course, some are saying the biggest story is swimmer Michael Phelps. He is being built up by the members of the media calling him the “greatest Olympian ever,” because he has the opportunity to win eight gold medals. That would beat Mark Spitz record of seven.

That would make a big splash at the Olympics. Or maybe something else will become the iconic moment of the Beijing games. Costas says we’ll just have to watch and see.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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