Last week, I took a break from doing the Videos of the Week and the look back at previous Winter Olympics. Time to do it again, this week, we look back at NBC’s first Winter Olympics since Sapporo, Japan in 1972. Back then, Curt Gowdy was the overall host for NBC. In 2002, it was Bob Costas. In 1972, much of the coverage, a total of 37 hours, was live via satellite as events were held in the morning which translated to primetime on the East Coast. In 2002, NBC aired 375.5 hours from Salt Lake, much of it live as the network was able to utilize its cable networks, MSNBC and CNBC to air hockey and other spillover events. As usual, NBC took the glamor events such as figure skating.
We’ll look at how NBC and CBC covered the events. Both networks were in the midst of long streaks of televising the Olympics and would continue throughout the decade.
This was the first Olympics after 9/11 and there were concerns how security would respond. It turned out to be ok.
This is NBC’s official promo for the 2002 Salt Lake games that was given to the affiliates and sales clients. I like this.
This is NBC’s open for the games. Why it’s so small here, I’m not sure, but I’ll link you to a better quality version in a second. NBC borrowed Jim McKay to introduce various features during the Games and he joined Bob Costas and Katie Couric at the Opening Ceremony. Here, Jim starts the open and Bob joins later.
Here’s a better quality version. I can’t embed it, but you can see it here.
This is CBC’s open with veteran host Brian Williams at the helm.
Here’s how the Opening Ceremony began as CBC Sports’ Brian Williams is joined by CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge.
This is the lighting of the Olympic cauldron which is always kept a secret and you can see who gets the torch at the end. Plenty of famous American Olympic athletes get to touch the torch as it makes its way through Eccles-Rice Stadium. Again, CBC’s Brian Williams and Peter Mansbridge are on the call.
During the 2002 Olympics, we had controversy early in the figure skating pairs competition. This is the NBC call of Canada’s Jamie Sale and David Pelletier in the free skate portion. They skate to Love Story and did it flawlessly. And when they got their marks, it was rather obvious something rotten in Utah was going on. However, as I look back, I think the judges actually got it right. Tom Hammond, the lovely Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton are in the booth and I like the way they remain quiet during the program, but then go crazy as the marks are given. I’ll explain my reasoning later.
From the Eurovision feed, this is the performance from Russian pair Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze who after looking at this, skated better than Sale & Pelletier. This is a beautiful performance.
And here is NBC’s Jimmy Roberts giving a report on the whole scandal using Days of Our Lives to help explain the whole thing. This was filed in 2006, but it’s the best way to explain what happened in 2002.
Let’s move to hockey, shall we? The men’s hockey tournament turned out to be one for the ages. The USA and Canada went undefeated and led to a gold medal showdown. The game did not disappoint. This video is from the CBC DVD and the call is by legendary Hockey Night in Canada team Bob Cole and Harry Neale.
Here’s the Coach’s Corner with Don Cherry and Ron MacLean trying to hold court from the USA-Canada gold medal game that aired in the first intermission on CBC. Don shows some of the greatest goals in Team Canada history.
I’m so happy I found an Olympic Coach’s Corner segment. Been looking for one for a long time.
This is CBC’s tribute to Team Canada for winning the gold medal in Olympic competition for the first time in 50 years.
Let’s go to short track speedskating and the 1,000 meters final in which Apolo Anton Ohno was the overwhelming favorite, but he fell leading the way for Australian Steven Bradbury to steal the gold. Ted Robinson and Eric Flaim are on the call for NBC.
This is Bob Costas interviewing Ohno the day after the 1,000 meters.
One more short track race, the men’s 1,500 meters final and Apolo Anton Ohno wins the gold here, but again, there’s some controversy as the Korean skater that crossed the line first was disqualified and Ohno who finished second was awarded the gold. This led to Koreans giving death threats to Ohno.
Here’s CBC review of the 16 days of competition with this video with the winning moments for Canada and other countries, but this is mostly Canada-centric.