Behind the Mic: Weir, Lipinski Join NBC Olympics’ Figure Skating Coverage; ESPN Taps Steele, Burke for NBA Countdown

Two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski, and 2006 ice dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin will join NBC Olympics for its Winter Games coverage in Sochi, Russia. Weir, who announced his retirement last week, and Lipinski will serve as analysts for NBC Olympics’ multi-platform figure skating coverage.Belbin, a silver medalist in ice dancing at the 2006 Torino Olympics, will serve as a reporter for NBC Olympics’ Sports Desk and will present features for The Olympic Zone, NBC Olympics’ 30-minute daily show for NBC affiliates covering all aspects of the Games…

…ESPN has reached a multi-year extension with Sage Steele, who will take the new role as host of the Friday and Sunday editions of NBA Countdown. She joines ESPN newcomer and veteran analyst Doug Collins and returning analysts Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons (Magic Johnson announced his departure from the show earlier this month and Mike Wilbon was replaced by Collins). Steele will continue to appear on SportsCenter and will also contribute to ESPN’s on-site NBA coverage during the NBA Finals.

Meanwhile, the Friday edition of NBA Countdown will feature the newly added Doris Burke along with Rose and newcomer and veteran analyst Avery Johnson. Burke signed a multi-year extension with the network and will continue to play a key role in its NBA and college basketball coverage. She will continue to serve as both an analyst and a reporter for NBA games on ABC and ESPN, including the NBA Finals. She will also maintain her role as a lead men’s college basketball and women’s college basketball game analyst – a role that includes the Women’s Final Four on ESPN…

MLB Network has added Ron Darling as an offseason analyst. Darling will appear across MLB Network’s offseason studio programming, making his MLB Network debut live on MLB Tonight on Nov. 4. Since beginning his broadcasting career in 2000, Darling has won two Emmy Awards for Best Sports Analyst for his work covering the Mets on SportsNet New York (SNY), and he works as a game analyst for Turner Sports’ MLB regular season and Postseason coverage…

…As announced in June, play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and analyst Bill Raftery will lead Fox Sports’ Big East basketball coverage this season on Fox, FS1, and FS2. They will be joined by former St. John’s guard Tarik Turner, Ohio State All-American Jim Jackson, standout Illinois guard Stephen Bardo, former Georgetown coach Ron Thompson, Connecticut standout Donny Marshall, three-time Duke MVP Jim Spanarkel, former Rutgers player and coach Bob Wenzel, NCAA championship coach Gary Williams and coaching veteran Kevin O’Neill on commentary. Calling play-by-play are several familiar faces from around FOX Sports – Justin Kutcher, Dick Stockton, Thom Brennaman, Brian Anderson, Eric Collins and Kevin Kugler. Providence standout

Fox has also added former Providence College and Indiana Pacers standout Austin Croshere as a college basketball studio analyst on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. Croshere, who most recently served as a studio analyst and part-time color commentator for FOX Sports Indiana, will work in-studio throughout the season during halftimes and between games on FOX Sports 1 and 2, primarily during the networks’ BIG EAST coverage…

…ESPN has inked Jon Barry to a multi-year agreement to serve as the lead analyst for NBA on ESPN Radio, replacing long-time analyst Dr. Jack Ramsey, now retired. Barry will work more than 40 regular-season and playoff broadcasts alongside returning play-by-play man Kevin Calabro. Barry, who joined ESPN prior to the 2006-07 season, will continue to provide analysis during ESPN game telecasts and for a variety of ESPN news and information studio shows.

PJ Carlesimo (who joined ESPN during the 2013 playoffs) will also work select ESPN Radio games throughout the regular- and post-season, partnering with Marc Kestecher. In addition, ESPN has reached an agreement with veteran NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy to serve as an ESPN Radio game analyst for 10 broadcasts this season. Van Gundy will also continue to serve as one of the rotating guest hosts on the Miami-based national The Dan Le Batard Show….

…Hugo Sanchez – famed Real Madrid and Mexican international player -manager, and current La Liga ambassador to the Americas – has joined beIN SPORT. Sanchez has played and coached in both LigaMX and for the Mexican national team. He was top scorer in the Spanish league for a record five seasons, was European Golden Boot winner in the 1989-90 season with Real Madrid, and was named to Real Madrid’s All-Time Greatest XI…

…SportsCenter anchors Hannah Storm and John Anderson will serve as co-hosts of ESPN’s 2013 ING New York City Marathon coverage on Sunday on ESPN2. ESPN’s New York City Marathon commentator team also includes reporter Jeremy Schaap and analysts Tim Hutchings (a former 5,000 meter Olympic competitor and six-time Olympic reporter), and Carrie Tollefson (an Olympian and five-time NCAA Champion). All-American and Olympics reporter Lewis Johnson will provide updates from the start and finish lines. Other reporters include ABC7’s Laura Behnke and Rob Powers, as well as Jim Dolan (stationed at First Avenue and East 60th Street) and Kemberly Richardson (at Fourth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn). Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World David Willey will serve as a reporter while running the course. Juli Benson, an Olympian and NCAA All-American, and Toni Reavis, a journalist and member of the Running USA Hall of Champions, will serve as lead women’s reporter and lead men’s reporter, respectively.

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