Friday, January 24, 2014

Lindsey Vonn won't be working as NBC commentator at Winter Games: Report

First, NBC lost Lindsey Vonn's wide television appeal on the slopes, now they have lost the dazzling Olympic skier's same appeal in the booth.

The knee injury that cost Vonn a spot on the U.S. ski team is also preventing her heading to Sochi to take part in NBC's coverage of the games. 

The network had approached the gold-medal winning downhill skier about joining its team of commentators in Russia next month, but her injury has left her unable to travel, reported The Sporting News.

Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's Olympic coverage, said the network first approached Vonn about joining the booth when they heard she was unable to compete in Sochi.

"I don’t think she is going to be able to travel," Bell said Thursday, adding that they had been "in discussions" about a possible stateside role for the 29-year-old skier.

Vonn, the first American woman to win gold in the downhill skiing, underwent major surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligaments 11 months ago. She aggravated the same injury at the end of last year, during a training session in Colorado, and again in December in France.

"I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi," Vonn, who dates golfer Tiger Woods, said in a statement earlier this month. 

"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level."

Vonn would arguably have been the biggest star at the Games, but Bell said the network wasn't too concerned about losing the popular Olympic medalist.

"There are plenty of established stars to go round, like Shaun White," he told Deadline.

"And there are always the unknowns. No one knew [who] the gymnasts were, but they became stars," he added, talking about the U.S. gymnasts at the London 2012 Games. Bell said NBC didn't expect to match its ratings for the 2010 Vancouver Games because of the time difference between the U.S. and Russia.

And there's still Lolo Jones.

The Winter Olympics are being held from February 6th to the 23rd, with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for February 7. 

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