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Yao Ming; Kobe Bryant; LeBron James; Jason Kidd; Liu Xiang; United States; Beijing; India; Pakistan; Athens; NBC -NOTE- See also introduction on page 25 of same issue.

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2008 SUMMER OLYMPICS
NBC and related networks · Aug. 8-24

The Scoop
Live from Beijing, it’s the Games of the XXIX Olympiad…and NBC is using more platforms than Donkey Kong to make sure you don’t miss a minute. With the network, its cable channels (including USA, MSNBC, Oxygen, and Telemundo), and live online streams, the Peacock plans to air more than 3,600 hours of coverage — more than all the Summer Olympic Games since 1960 combined. ”You can find your sport,” says NBC Sports executive producer David Neal. ”If you’re interested in India-versus-Pakistan badminton, we’re going to make it available to you.”
Athletes to Watch
Swimming, gymnastics, and beach volleyball will run live in prime time, meaning American viewers can tune in for unspoiled answers to this year’s pressing questions: Will Michael Phelps break Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds? Is this really the strongest U.S. women’s gymnastics team in years? Can Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor bump-set-spike their way back to the podium? But for true excitement, don’t rule out hometown heroes. Yao Ming should return from injury in time to lead the Chinese basketball squad against a USA team that includes Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd, and the night Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang defends his Athens gold, says Neal, ”will be one of those moments where you’ll feel an entire country holding its collective breath.”
The Political Arena
Human-rights protesters trashed the torch relay (and are encouraging a boycott of the opening ceremony), but sports guy Neal is happy to just focus on the game. ”If something happens that affects the athletes or the competition, we will cover it fully,” he says. ”NBC News will be on hand in Beijing, and they will cover stories that happen outside of the competition venues.” —Whitney Pastorek