The Sochi Winter Games: One year to go
What are the storylines as the one year countdown to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi starts now!
Sochi Russia has decided that what -- second Olympic Winter Games. Thank coverage begins one year from today February 6 -- -- fourteen. On NBC. The International Olympic Committee has added twelve new events including several. And freestyle skiing and snowboarding you go watch eighteen days of Olympic programming on the NBC family of networks. On there and on line and joining us now preserved inside access to talk more about it a man who's about to cover his fifteen. Olympics one of the premier commentators. And sports essayist. About I've. Did that tell you wrote to thank Jim Jimmy Roberts director gets front and -- or is there. If there is there another guest you're gonna have on Michael only in my bread and it's great that talked you can put put our series this put this in. You if you covered everything I mean Super Bowls worst races US opens -- will get to that both tennis and golf where where does this rank covering an Olympic Games whether it's summer or winter where does that rank for you. You know the -- the Olympics are the best thing you could possibly cover -- sports is what you do for a living the Olympic Games there where where you wanna go to. The dimensions will be my fifteenth Olympic Games and I mean I. I've covered a lot of things that when I look back on the things that I've been apart over Ive been witness to. The most memorable thing I've ever seen in sports happened in an Olympic Games 1994. When Dan Jansen finally won his gold medal in the thousand meters. I mean this was a guy who had labored for so many years under such scrutiny. And had you know so many instances of disappointment and heartbreak that started. With him having to race on the day that his sister died and you know of leukemia at the 1988 games in Calgary. And then his story was so scrutinized and follow throughout the process and he just kept on coming up short. And you know finally in 1994. In a race that he really was not supposed to win he not only one. But he set a world record. And -- I saw something I never have seen before or since I saw the people who were competing against. This man I saw them all standing. And applauding and then I saw them. Take his baby daughter and hander down over the crowd. Over the security fence and into the hands arms she was named after Dan sister Jane and he skated around the ice in the place -- is. I mean it's stuff like that doesn't happen too many other places but the Olympic Games Jimmy out. Your call but I mean who is a sideline reporter for CBS covering that event in the city and wildcat yeah I think that we were there together he was that and then. He was that dashing young man back. At the time you know and I would go I would go to the Eric Heiden. Games in 81980 at Lake Placid games that was your first as to -- is still the most extraordinary achievement. In sport really when you think about the distances he skated yes. Yeah no for me it's you know it's the most amazing achievement and he had the misfortune of having. Won five gold medals the same Olympics that the US hockey team was in the building next door. You know accomplishing something that no one but anyone could ever do which was beat the Soviet Union. As an enormous underdog but you know -- winning those five gold medals. I think the equivalent. You know accomplishment. Nowadays would be somebody. In the summer games winning the hundred meter dash and the marathon and everything in between. He won five gold medals he said one world record for Olympic records. He did it on an outdoor rink where -- the conditions were entirely inconsistent. This to this day is the rink which serves in the summertime. As the track where the kids from Lake Placid high school run. So it was far less scientific than it is now and so much more was kind of you know unpredictable back then but he still he won everything yeah it was it was really remark. Who would have thought back then we'd be talking about the 2014 games in Sochi Russia but so we are one. You're from tonight NBC will begin its coverage which is a first normally it is the opening ceremonies for those of us who are unfamiliar. With Sochi Russia give us a little primer what we can expect from the city. The backdrop and these games. Well I think it's going to be beautiful I mean the amazing thing to me is. That it's gonna be the first Olympic Games in my lifetime. Excluding the Moscow games in 1980. That the entire world is gonna actually say you know think about that I mean think about the size. Of Russia and before that the Soviet Union. Nobody's certainly in the United States has seen an Olympic Games there you know probably in their lifetime. You know I think it's really going to be a momentous event I mean they're gonna be what is it 98 events some told not 88 events. When the first Olympic Games I went to in Lake Placid there were 38 events and meanwhile the Olympic Games have exploded. And it just think about all the things that. You know. Over the past several years have become not only popular but must see events -- we're gonna see Shaun White compete we may see him compete. On that very first night which precedes the opening ceremonies in one -- opening ceremony I should -- and that's an important distinction. For all you Olympic fans out there it's not 00 excuse me. It's not opening ceremonies. It's opening ceremony we get slapped on the wrist for stuff like that around here let's David and he got -- Yeah right and we think we're gonna see snowboard slope style on that first night. And along with team figure skating that's going to be one of the events where we may see Shaun white's it's going to be very very exciting what do you think's. To happen it would Lindsey Vonn who is a gold medalist who was airlifted out. Of the world championships -- -- Austria yesterday torn ACL toward MCL. A broken tibia. And we we've seen comebacks before certainly but this looks catastrophic what are you hearing about this. Well if Vaughan is able to compete notably her fourth Olympic Games the first time she competed with Salt Lake City she was just seventeen years old. But she isn't extraordinary athlete she is the most decorated American skier of all time. When you take into account the Olympic Games in World Cup and world championships she's really. She's just an extraordinary athlete and I've gotten a -- a little bit because she also -- a big tennis fan so we would see here every year at Wimbledon. And I'll tell you something she's just built differently in many many ways there aren't too many people that have the determination. That she does and the consistency in -- sport. We're just. Hundreds of thousands of seconds separate winners and losers and there are so many conditions. Which can play a part in whether or not you're successful things that don't have anything to do. -- your own control she's been so remarkably consistent over the years. So I I don't you know I can't tell you for sure but I would imagine that she's out for the rest of this year. But I would be shocked if she didn't work as hard as she possibly could to get back. Next year will be it would be her fourth games we hope that she is there is certainly also the NHL there's a question brought mark around. The NHL's players and whether or not they will take another break. For the Olympic Winter Games and what are you hearing on that do you think they will and you'll like that that that the NHL breaks in the best. Of the world are on display. They have to send the NHL. I mean I certainly hope the decision that is made since the NHL players. Because you wanna see the best players in the world playing on the big ice sheet which is bigger than what we see here. In the United States it's just a different game and I think you get to appreciate. The artistry -- it I remember one of the first Olympic hockey tournaments that I covered was in 1992. Back then it was the unified team. And there was this guy who we hadn't really seen in the United States he was skating for again the unified team then because it was after the breakup of the Soviet Union. And his name was Alexi Kovalev he didn't speak very much English but we got to see a guy who was basically the Michael Jordan. Of ice hockey at the time and it's a beautiful thing to -- I hope they can figure it out. There's nothing better then you know -- ice hockey at the Olympic Games is just it's just really spectacular. What are you hearing about Sochi itself regarding climate there were some experiences there -- at least concerns. With the unseasonably mild temperatures not the first time certainly. In winner Olympic history that that would be indicates that happening Calgary there was a little bit of -- certainly in Vancouver. A what's the climate going to be like as far as you know. Well it's it's gonna be we would imagine somewhat like Vancouver it's what I'm told is a subtropical. Climate. Just for those who were interest did two days from now the predicted temperature down. In the area in town. Where some of the indoor events will happen. Is predicted to be about 63 degrees with mid fifties while I had about an hour away from town in the caucus mountains. That's where you know the Alpine events will happen some of the outdoor events. And you know that's a typical mountain climate so I would imagine that you know they're not gonna have any problem with this believe me this has been carefully. Considered and you know as they have in the past you know I've seen I've seen events canceled at the Olympic Games for too much snow. I've seen events. Postponed for too little snow but they always end up going on there are always spectacular. -- we're gonna promote use the next whether -- Comcast sports that we'll set the maps in motion you can do the five day I think it's awesome you're doing great but he. -- back up -- -- -- -- ready to work with Mike greens very lastly that I mention golf and how you've covered golf and really I mean this. From the bottom my heart of one of the best sports essayist ever as you know. There's there's a great one in this town by the -- Jack Whitaker who worked for CBS sports for many many years the best he ever yep and when I. When I was knew you would certainly reminiscent a jacket how we just stands up and delivers it and it's right in the heart. And it hits you in yours so so let's talk a little bit about Marion. Which is coming up this June how excited you are what we can expect from from this United States open championship. You know every time I think about Marion the first thing that pops into mind is Lee Trevino saying. I'm in love with Marian and I don't even know her last name has -- so much great history. Has been made -- this golf course now it's interesting the the US GA is taking a gamble going back to Marion. It's gonna be the shortest US open course since 2001. At the par seventy but it's under. 7000 yards but it's an exacting courses the folks in Philadelphia certainly no but when I think about Marion I think about all the amazing history there I mean it's where Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam in 1930. It's where Ben Hogan. Won that US open. In a playoff all playoff over man -- Bosnia in 195016. Months. After you almost die in the head on car collision with a Greyhound bus. It's where Lee Trevino B Jack Nicklaus in a playoff. I -- so much has happened there I think that for people who love the game of golf. Marry it's a pretty special place and I think a lot of people have probably thought that. You know perhaps time had passed it by at least in terms of championship quality championship caliber courses have been getting longer and longer and longer but the US amateur was there a few years ago. And now the US open is back and -- they're gonna have less people on the grounds which is something as I said it's been a gamble for the US GA they're gonna end up making less money off of this. But I think all credit due to them for. Bringing back you know America's national championship to an iconic golf course it's great to see. It's going to be great real quickly -- we thank you so much for your time tell us about the Golf Channel show you working on. And when it will there's already area where we can -- what time we can find. Michael it's called in play with Jimmy Roberts and it's basically once a month. A thirty minute magazine show where as I said. Our only goal is to go out and find in deliver the best stories we possibly can no matter where they are the premiere is march 12 at 1030. On Golf Channel -- we're all really excited about it. Yeah we're excited to watch it as well Jimmy thanks so much was -- real soon appreciated. All the best Michael great talking to you to like what my friend a great Jimmy Roberts and we appreciate his time and he'll be covering the games of the 22. Winter olympiad this coming up one year from two nights in Sochi Russia and this begins our one year lead up to those games they're always special winter or summer but certainly -- winter games in Russia will be. A spectacular event.