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Breaking News: Al Michaels to Host Winter Olympics for NBC Sports

Thursday, March 5, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:51 AM, under , ,

Athens, GA (Mar 5, 2009) - In a noontime media call today, NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol announced that Al Michaels will be the weekend and weekday host for NBC Sports coverage of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Here is the official news release from NBC Sports:

Emmy Award winner Al Michaels, one of the most renowned broadcasters of all-time and whose legendary "Do you believe in miracles? YES!" call at the Lake Placid Olympics 30 years ago stands as the most famous call in sports television history, will serve as host of NBC's live weekend and weekday daytime coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports and Olympics.

This will be Michaels' first Olympic broadcast assignment in 22 years when he called hockey games at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. Michaels will host more than 50 hours of live weekend and weekday daytime coverage from Vancouver, a significant increase in hours from NBC's daytime shows from Torino in 2006.

"To say I am thrilled to have Al host our weekend and weekday daytime coverage is an understatement," said Ebersol. "Since joining NBC to do Sunday Night Football in 2006 Al and I have discussed him doing other events here. After the Pro Bowl last month we discussed it again and he said he would love to host an Olympics for the first time. I immediately offered him this role."

"I've loved the Olympics since childhood and to have a chance to be a part of the coverage again, especially on the 30th anniversary of the Lake Placid Games, will be a thrill," said Michaels. "I am very excited about the opportunity to work another Olympic Games."

Vancouver will be the sixth Olympic broadcast assignment for Michaels and his first as a host. The Vancouver Olympics will mark the 30th anniversary of the "Miracle on Ice" and arguably the most famous call in sports history. Michaels launched himself into American pop culture lore at the 1980 Winter Olympics from Lake Placid with his legendary "Do you believe in miracles? YES!" call of the USA men's hockey team's dramatic upset victory over the USSR that Sports Illustrated voted as the greatest sports moment of the 20th century.

Michaels received the assignment to call the famed hockey game because he was the only one of ABC's roster of announcers in Lake Placid who had previously called a hockey game. That game was the gold medal match between the USSR and Czechoslovakia at the 1972 Winter Games in Sapporo, which he called for NBC. In addition to that gold medal hockey game, Michaels provided commentary for biathlon, speed skating, ski jumping and cross-country skiing as one of only nine announcers sent to Sapporo by NBC in 1972.

In addition to Sapporo in 1972 and Lake Placid in 1980, Michaels covered figure skating and hockey at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, track and field and road cycling at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles and hockey at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

One of television's most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including the past three seasons of "Sunday Night Football" after 19 years as the play-by-play voice of "Monday Night Football."

Michaels was universally praised for his work as the play-by-play voice of Super Bowl XLIII from Tampa last month, the seventh Super Bowl that he's called. The Los Angeles Times called Michaels, "the best in the business, no one else is even close," while Newsday said he is "as good as it gets."

Michaels holds the distinction as the only broadcaster to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured six Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-play (1986, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2007 and 2008) and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

Regarded as one of the best baseball announcers of all time, Michaels was ABC's lead baseball play-by-play announcer during the network's coverage of Major League Baseball. He has also earned praise as a journalist and became just the second sportscaster in history, the legendary Jim McKay being the other, to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

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