OLYMPICS IN HIGH HEELS: OLYMPICS OPENING CEREMONIES NOTES AND QUOTES FROM NBC

STAMFORD, Conn. – February 9, 2018 – Saturday’s coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, is highlighted by:

  • NBC’s primetime presentation, which begins at 8 p.m. ET live across all time zones, featuring the short dance and the ladies’ short program from the figure skating team event, with Team USA ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani expected to compete;
  • Live coverage of the men’s downhill in NBC primetime, as Aksel Lund Svindal headlines a contingent of Norwegians against Austria’s Matthias Mayer, who won gold in Sochi;
  • NBC’s daytime coverage at 3 p.m. ET, featuring Ghana-born and Virginia-raised Maame Biney, 18, leading Team USA in the women’s 500m;
  • Nine Olympic sports showcased throughout NBCSN’s near-24 hours of coverage, including Vermont native Susan Dunkleeattempting to capture Team USA’s first ever biathlon medal in the women’s 7.5 km sprint event.

NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will live stream all events to authenticated pay-TV subscribers.

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Following are highlights from NBC’s primetime coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Friday, February 9.

The XXIII Olympic Winter Games began with the Opening Ceremony from PyeongChang Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea. Mike Tirico, NBC’s primetime Olympics host, opened the show, which was followed by a short film narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor and This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown (click here for more information).

Tirico and award-winning journalist Katie Couric anchored tonight’s Opening Ceremony on NBC, alongside NBC Sports’ Asia analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo. Apolo Anton Ohno, the most-decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history, and West Coast anchor of NBC News’ TODAYNatalie Morales provided reports and conducted interviews with athletes.

In addition, Tirico announced that NBC Olympics will post the world feed of the Opening Ceremony, unedited, without announcers and in its entirety, on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, early Saturday morning (approximately 5 a.m. ET).

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Tirico: “Whether it’s the time or the place, the global gathering that is the Olympic Games always seems to come at a pivotal moment. For 2018 in South Korea, it’s both the time and place. The global flashpoint of North Korea is just 60 miles from this stadium, yet the power of sport and the Olympics has bridged that gap and the longest militarized border in the world. Tonight, North Koreans normally prohibited from entering this country, will march side-by-side with South Koreans in the parade of athletes. Quite a night.”

Couric on tensions between the United States and North Korea: “Vice President Mike Pence is leading the U.S. here. Remarkably, he is sitting in the same dignitary box as Kim Yo-jong. Also here in PyeongChang, as a guest of Pence, is Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was arrested and imprisoned for 17 months by North Korea, was released in a coma and died shortly after returning home to Ohio. There is no question about the signal the administration is trying to send here – a reminder of what is universally considered the most barbaric and brutal regimes in the world.”

Ramo on the importance of North Korea and South Korea marching under a unified flag: “It is going to be one of these unforgettable, electric and historical moments. But what we honestly don’t know yet is why it is historic. That is what makes it such an unusual and important moment. Are these teams taking the first steps down a new and peaceful path, or is this the very last image of fellowship and hope before tragedy strikes? That is why it is so electric here. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of lives are at stake, so the power, the resonance and the depth of this evening is something that is going to leave a deep impression on everyone.”

Tirico on joint flag bearers from North Korea and South Korea: “This message of unity, even in the joint flag bearers – one from the North, one from the South, and one moment in Olympic history.”

Couric on politics surrounding North Korea and South Korea marching under a unified flag: “It is such a moment of unity, but certainly greeted by some with skepticism, especially given the fact that human rights violations and issues have received increasing attention in recent weeks.”

Ramo as athletes entered the stadium under a unified Korean flag: “It’s a powerful moment. Many people say that the presence of Kim Yong-nam, the 90-year-old head of state is sort of the form of this, and then the surprise appearance of Kim Yo-jong, the sister of Kim Jong-un, is really the substance. She’ll have lunch tomorrow with the South Korean president Moon Jae-in. But if you’ve got form and substance, what you really see here is spirit.”

Tirico on the reception of athletes entering under a unified Korean flag: “We heard mostly cheers. We don’t know how each person feels in this nation of 51 million people, but the predominant reception in this Olympic stadium tonight, was the loudest cheer of the evening from these people who deal constantly with the conversation of the threat that remains on the other side of the border.”

PRE-CEREMONY

Shaun White on walking in the Opening Ceremony: “It’s almost indescribable. You are part of this huge team, Team USA, and you’re out here all together, all for the same common goal. It’s like out of a movie. I don’t really get that anywhere else in my sport. So when I come here it’s really, really special. It’s so exciting every single time.”

Lindsey Vonn on why this Olympics is more special: “I missed Sochi because of injury. I’ve had some ups and downs the last few years, and also, my grandfather died, and he served in the Korean War. This is a really big Olympics for me. It means so much to me, and it’s probably going to be my last Olympics. I’m looking to get a gold and represent my country well.”

Maame Biney on serving as an inspiration for young viewers: “I’m here for that. I want to inspire you guys. I want to be an inspiration, so just go out there and have fun, and do what you like to do and have fun with it.”

Tirico on U.S.-Canada women’s hockey rivalry: “That might be the best rivalry between two nations in these Olympic Games – USA-Canada in women’s hockey.”

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ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS

A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic Games coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032.

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