Russian-American Broadcaster Vladimir Pozner to Cover Sochi Olympics for NBC (Exclusive)

Vladimir Pozner
Vladimir Pozner
 Getty

MOSCOW -- Russian-American broadcaster Vladimir Pozner will join Bob Costas on NBC's late news show throughout the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, offering a Russian perspective on the social and cultural trends behind the day's happenings in Olympic sports. 

Pozner, a veteran newsman whose career spans U.S.-Russia relations dating back to the Cold War era, has covered three previous Olympics: for Soviet television during the Moscow summer games in 1980, and then for Russian TV during the winter games in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010.

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On each of those occasions he offered a broad perspective on the political context of the games, rather than acting as a sports commentator.

It will be the first time Pozner, who hosts a weekly live news talk show in Moscow, covers the Olympics for a U.S. network.

His job will be to give U.S. viewers insight into the Russian perspective on the social and political events surrounding the games.

The Kremlin's recent anti-gay campaign, which includes laws forbidding the propagation of gay lifestyles to young people, is likely to be in the news during the games.

Some Olympic athletes are openly homosexual or lesbian and may find ways to display their solidarity with Russia's LGBT community during the event.

"My job is to comment on the way the games are seen by the Russians," Pozner told The Hollywood Reporter. "There is a fair chance that there will be some other events happening; it will be my job to help the American viewer understand what Russians think about that."

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"My role is not to support the Russian viewpoint but to explain it -- not to advocate it," he added.

Pozner, 79, was born in Paris but grew up in the U.S. after fleeing France with his family in 1940 after the Nazi invasion of the country. He later lived in the Soviet sector of Berlin before returning to Moscow in the 1950s.

His flawless, American-accented English gave Pozner an advantage in journalism. After beginning his career as a senior editor at English-language magazine Soviet Life, he went on to have his own daily show on the North American service of Radio Moscow.

After hosting a series of transcontinental satellite TV talk shows in the 1980s -- known collectively as the U.S-Soviet Space Bridge -- Pozner co-hosted CNBC's Pozner/Donahue syndicated news hour between 1991-96.

He also has appeared on many American TV news shows, including Today and Nightline.

The author of several books, including his autobiography, Parting with Illusions and Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union, Pozner has won multiple awards, among them three Emmys and nine Teffys, Russia's highest national television honor.

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NBC's Winter Olympic coverage is due to start the night before the opening ceremony for the games in Sochi, in southern Russia -- the first time the network has began Olympic primetime coverage before the official start.

The network said the decision was made in response to unprecedented interest in games that have "more events than ever before."

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 the Olympic debut of the event; team figure skating, which is also in the Olympics for the first time; and women's freestyle moguls.

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