Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For 539 NBC hours, researchers rule

FESTIVE TEST: Speed skater Allison Baver once was drug tested at the Sundance Film Festival.

FESTIVE TEST: Speed skater Allison Baver once was drug tested at the Sundance Film Festival.

Since ABC Sports hired its first researcher — Dick Ebersol, a future head of NBC Sports — before the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, television networks have dispatched people to immerse themselves in the Olympics to find information to use in their telecasts.

In the predigital age, there were no websites filled with pre-Olympic results. News about athletes moved slowly among countries.

Now, information once contained in huge binders fits on a thumb drive. Access to news and results is almost instantaneous. And unlike the 43½ hours ABC televised from Innsbruck, Austria, for the 1976 Winter Games, five NBC Universal networks will carry 539 hours of live coverage next month from Sochi, Russia, and will stream at least 1,000 more.

Still, the job of NBC's five researchers is unchanged: prepare the networks in advance, and keep the producers and announcers updated. The big payoff is hearing a nugget they unearthed used in a broadcast. "That doesn't get old," said Alex Goldberger, a researcher since 2010.

weirdest drug test sites: Athletes must keep the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed of their whereabouts 365 days a year so drug testers can find them at any time. Among the strangest places they have been tested, via Cosmopolitan magazine: a car repair shop (Alpine skier Heather McPhie), the Sundance Film Festival (speed skater Allison Baver), church (snowboarder Kelly Clark) and at a donor meeting for the American Diabetes Association (curler Ann Swisshelm).

For 539 NBC hours, researchers rule 01/11/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 11, 2014 9:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Vladislav Namestnikov is Lightning's top-line 'secret'

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov is piling up the goals. Steven Stamkos is an assist machine. They make for an impressive pairing in a league that favors scoring pairs over the more traditional three-player scoring lines.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) reacts after scoring during the third period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
  3. Ex-Lightning forward Brian Boyle returns to practice after cancer diagnosis

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — Brian Boyle, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia last month, was back on the ice with his Devils teammates Sunday after getting cleared to practice for the first time since his diagnosis.

    Brian Boyle has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, a type of bone-marrow cancer that the team's doctor says can be treated with medication, the Devils announced Tuesday. [AP photo]
  4. Bucs-Bills report card: Grading the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Hard to believe, but this was only the second time in their history that the Bucs played a regular-season game in Buffalo. After Sunday loss, they wouldn't mind going another 40 years without playing here again.

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs-Bills: Social media reactions to the Bucs' 30-27 loss


    Here's a sampling of reactions from the media and fans to the Bucs' 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo:

    Buffalo Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka (4) is mobbed by teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]