Wednesday, January 8, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Nancy Kerrigan will work for NBC during during the Sochi Olympics, 20 years after she was the story of the 1994 Games because of the rivalry with Tonya Harding that turned violent.
The network said Tuesday that the two-time figure skating medalist will contribute to figure skating coverage as an analyst. She will also make appearances on the "Today" show and "Access Hollywood." She will not be doing color commentary on the competitions.
NBC is also planning a 45-minute report about the attack on Kerrigan before the Lillehammer Olympics by associates of Harding, one of the few times Kerrigan has spoken publicly about it. The network hasn't said when that will air yet.
The incident and its aftermath "was the beginning of reality television," said NBC correspondent Mary Carillo, who worked with Kerrigan on the special.
"It's not something you celebrate, being attacked," Kerrigan said. Kerrigan says she was initially reluctant to take part in the feature but trusted she would be treated fairly and wanted to give her perspective on the events.
Kerrigan had worked for "Entertainment Tonight" during the last two Winter Olympics. Since that show isn't affiliated with Olympics broadcast rights holder NBC, her access to events was limited.
NBC approached her about a broadcast role at the games last summer as the documentary was being completed, said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's coverage of the games.
The network also is having to make a quick pivot after Lindsey Vonn announced Tuesday that the aftermath of right knee surgery will prevent her from defending her Olympic downhill gold medal. NBC was expected to feature her as one of the marquee athletes of the game.
NBC would certainly welcome her presence, even if she can't compete. NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus said the network wouldn't approach Vonn about becoming part of its broadcasting team, knowing her feelings about missing these Olympics are raw at this point, but wouldn't mind if she initiated talks.
"We would certainly welcome that discussion," he said.
NBC also said it would have a full team of news personnel on hand if non-sports stories intrude upon the games. The fear of violence from terrorism and anger among gays and lesbians about Russian policies toward them have been notable stories in the run-up to the Olympics, which start in a month.
NBC Olympics host Bob Costas said he's convinced these news stories have increased interest among Americans in watching the competition.
AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen contributed to this report.