8:06am PT by Marisa Guthrie
New Yorker Editor David Remnick to Contribute to NBC's Olympics Coverage
NBC Sports has tapped New Yorker editor David Remnick as a contributor for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Remnick was formerly the Moscow bureau chief at the Washington Post and has since written numerous pieces for The New Yorker about culture and politics in Russia. He'll contribute to NBC's coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7. He'll also offer commentary throughout the Games on various NBC News platforms.
“David is a distinguished journalist who knows Russia very well, and we’re excited to have his expertise on the host country for our Sochi coverage,” said Jim Bell, executive producer, NBC Olympics, in a statement.
The Sochi Games have been roiled by Russia's anti-gay laws which criminalizes expressions of homosexuality, or so-called homosexual "propaganda," according to the law. Human rights advocates have vociferously denounced the law while numerous athletes, including skier Bode Miller and figure skater Ashley Wagner, have spoken out publicly against it. In Remnick, NBC Sports will get a journalist who is independent of the financial obligations of the International Olympic Committee.
"We are facing an Olympics that have a number of issues around them -- substantial, meaty news issues," Bell told Sports Illustrated. "For us to be able to have an opportunity to address them with someone like David made perfect sense. We would be remiss not to rely on some of the best and brightest minds to help present this to our viewers the right way."
Remnick added that he will be entirely free to speak his mind on whatever hot-button issue he sees fit, including, he suggested, Russia's role in the economy of Ukraine, which has spurred mass protests in the latter.
"There is nothing in the world -- and I know they don't intend to hinder me in this way -- where I would not be honest in my analysis," Remnick told SI. "It would be a waste of everyone's integrity and time if otherwise."
Competition for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games will begin Thursday, Feb. 6, one night before NBC's primetime coverage of the opening ceremony. It is the first time NBC will air Olympic primetime coverage before the opening ceremony. The primetime broadcast on Feb. 6 is scheduled to include competition in snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s), in which two-time gold medalist Shaun White is expected to compete in slopestyle’s Olympic debut; team figure skating, which is also in the Olympics for the first time; and women’s freestyle moguls.