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[03/23/09 - 10:52 AM]
NBC Sports & Oxygen Media Combine for 16 Hours of World Figure Skating Championship Coverage
Plus: Michelle Kwan will join Bob Costas and Dick Button as a guest analyst.

[via press release from NBC]

NBC SPORTS & OXYGEN MEDIA COMBINE FOR 16 HOURS OF WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE

Michelle Kwan, the Most Decorated Figure Skater in U.S. History, Joins NBC's Coverage as Guest Analyst

Oxygen to Present 14 Hours of Coverage, 10 Live in ET

NEW YORK - March 23, 2009 - NBC Sports and Oxygen Media will combine to air 16 hours from the World Figure Skating Championships, the most prestigious and important figure skating competition outside of the Olympics, as the skaters prepare for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver next February on NBC. Oxygen, available in more than 74 million homes, will air 14 hours (10 hours live in ET) Wednesday through Friday, and NBC Sports will air the Ladies Free Skate live ET in primetime this Saturday (9-11 p.m., ET/PT) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

COSTAS HOSTS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ON NBC; JOINED BY BUTTON & KWAN: NBC's primetime Olympic host Bob Costas will host of NBC's coverage when the world's best skaters take the ice in Los Angeles. Costas will be joined by Dick Button (co-host), the most recognizable voice in figure skating, and Michelle Kwan (guest analyst), the most decorated skater in U.S. history. Joining them to form the deepest talent roster ever assembled to broadcast the World Figure Skating Championships will be Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Scott Hamilton (analyst), Sandra Bezic (analyst), Tracy Wilson (analyst) and Andrea Joyce (reporter).

In all, NBC Sports' broadcast team has totaled an amazing 19 medals at Worlds including 14 gold medals. Button won gold every year from 1948-1952 and took silver in 1947; Hamilton won gold in four consecutive years (1981-1984); and Kwan has a total of nine World Championship medals including five gold medals (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003), three silver medals (1997, 1999, 2002) and a bronze medal (2004).

This is the 99th World Figure Skating Championships and the first ever to take place in Los Angeles. The first Worlds were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1896. The United States has played host to 11 World Championships, most recently the 2003 Worlds in Washington, D.C.

COVERAGE ON OXYGEN (all times live ET except where noted):

Pairs Short Wednesday 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. ET/PT (taped Tuesday)

Men's Short Wednesday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT

Pairs Free Wednesday 12 midnight - 2 a.m. ET/PT

Men's Free Thursday 11p.m.- 1a.m. ET/PT

Original Dance Friday 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. ET/PT (taped Thursday)

Ladies Short Friday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT

Dance Free Friday 12 midnight - 2 a.m. ET/PT

COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS:

Ladies Free Skate Saturday 9 - 11 p.m. ET/PT

BUTTON ON U.S. LADIES: "Rachel Flatt is just charming and Alissa Czisny is beautiful. She's a dreamboat."

HAMILTON ON LADIES FAVORITES: "With Kim Yu-Na (Korea), watching her and seeing what she's capable of doing, you have to look at her as probably the favorite coming into this. She will be challenged by Mao Asada (Japan), last year's World Champion, but defending at Worlds is really tough to do."

HAMILTON ON THE AMERICAN LADIES: "For the Americans, it's a very important World Championships because their placements determine how many entries they'll have at the Olympics next year. Alyssa Czisny's done everything she can to break down her technique to be more consistent and that showed with a win at the National Championship. I hope she can go to L.A. and throw down two great performances."

HAMILTON BREAKS DOWN THE MEN'S COMPETITION: "It's going to be a hotly contested World Championship on the Men's side. If Patrick Chan (Canada) continues as an extension of the rest of his year, I've got to look at him as a favorite to win a World title. Jeremy Abbott (USA) won the Grand Prix title and Brian Joubert (France) is a former World Champion. And there is a perceived level of opportunity because Jeffrey Buttle, the defending World Champion has decided not to compete anymore."

HAMILTON ON U.S. MEN: "You have someone who's been there for a long time in Jeremy Abbott who has finally broken through and won a National Championship, you've got a veteran like Evan Lysacek, who has been at this level for years and years and you've got Brandon Mroz who just came out of nowhere. So it's a real good mixed bag of American men."

HAMILTON ON THE UNLIKELY RISE OF BRANDON MROZ: "Brandon Mroz? He's been second in everything he's ever done so maybe he'll be second in Worlds too. He was second in Juniors last year and you look at what he did at the National Championships this year, his first year as a senior. To be on the podium this year, well that's just superhuman."

WHO TO WATCH AT THE WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:

LADIES:

Mao Asada, Japan: 2008 World Champion (Kwan, last woman to win back-to-back World titles (2000-'01)

Kim Yu-Na, Korea: Two-time World bronze medalist; 2008 Four Continents Gold medalist

Rachel Flat, USA: 2008 U.S. Silver medallist; 2008 World Junior Champion

Alissa Czisny, USA: 2008 U.S. Champions; second appearance at the World Championships

Fumie Suguri, Japan: Three-time World medalist

Miki Ando, Japan: 2007 World Champion

MEN:

Evan Lysacek, USA: Two-time World bronze medalist; Two-time U.S. Champion

Jeremy Abbott, USA: 2009 U.S. Champion; 2008 Grand Prix Final Gold medalist

Patrick Chan, Canada: 2008 Four Continents Champion

Brian Joubert, France: 2007 World Champion; Three-time European champion

Nobunari Oda, Japan: 2008 Japanese Champion; 2005 World Junior Champion

Brandon Mroz, USA: 2009 U.S. Silver medalist; making World debut

PAIRS:

Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, Germany: 2008 World Champions; 2009 European Champions

Pang Qing & Tong Jianm China: 2008 Grand Prix Final Champion and Four Continents Champion

Zhang Dan & Zhang Hao, China: 2006 Olympic Silver medalists; 2008 World Silver medalists

Yuko Kawaguchi & Aleksandr Smirnov, Russia: Two-time Russian Champions; 2009 European Silver medalists

Jessica Dub´┐Ż & Bryce Davison, Canada: 2008 World Bronze medailists; two-time Canadian Champions

Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker, USA: Two-time U.S. Champions; 2007 World Junior Champions

Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett, USA: 2009 U.S. Silver medalists

DANCE:

Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto, USA: 2006 Olympic Silver Medalists; Four-time U.S. Champions

Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski, Russia: 2008 World Bronze medalists; 2009 European Champions

Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada: 2008 World Silver medalists; 2008 Canadian Champions

Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA: 2009 U.S. Champions

Oksana Domnina & Maksim Shabalin, Russia: 2008 European Champions

About Oxygen:

Oxygen is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and is currently available in over 74 million homes. The network was launched in 2000 to fill a void in the television landscape -- creating a network targeted to younger women. Oxygen is rewriting the rulebook for women's television, with a vast array of unconventional and original programming including "Bad Girls Club," "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" and "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood."





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