NBC not sending announcers to the Beijing 2022 Olympics

NBC Sports on Wednesday confirmed it will not be sending any announcing teams to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, citing COVID-19 concerns.

“The announce teams for these Olympics, including figure skating, will be calling events from our Stamford (Conn.) facility due to COVID concerns,” Greg Hughes, NBC Sports senior vice president communications, told USA Today.

“We’ll still have a large presence on the ground in Beijing and our coverage of everything will be first rate as usual, but our plans are evolving by the day as they are for most media companies covering the Olympics,” said Hughes.

NBC broadcasting teams had been scheduled to travel to Beijing in order to cover figure skating, Alpine skiing and snowboarding, but they will no longer be going. However, NBC’s Olympic host Mike Tirico will still be traveling to China to cover the first few days of the games before heading to Los Angeles to call the Super Bowl, USA Today reported.

The newspaper noted that NBC’s strategy of covering the Olympics from Stamford was also employed to cover the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics last year.

“The Beijing model is going to be very similar to Tokyo in that the heartbeat of our Olympic operation will actually be in Stamford, Conn., at our NBC Sports headquarters. We’ll have more personnel there than in the host city,” Molly Solomon, president of NBC Olympics Production, told the outlet.

“With COVID’s changing conditions and China’s zero-tolerance policy, it’s just added a layer of complexity to all of this so we need to make sure we can provide the same quality experience to the American viewers,” she added. “That’s why we are split between the two cities.”

While Team USA will be participating in the games this year, U.S. government officials will not be in attendance, with President Biden having announced a diplomatic boycott last month in protest of China’s alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province and other regions.

“The athletes on team USA have our full support, we will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time. “We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the games. U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that.”

Though no high-level U.S. officials will attend, some consular and security officers will travel to China to assist the athletes and coaches.

Tags 2022 Winter Olympics Jen Psaki Joe Biden NBC NBC News NBC Sports United States at the 2022 Winter Olympics USA Today

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