Behind the Mic: NBC Adds Apolo Ohno, Tanith White to Rio Olympics Team; Chris Spielman Returns to Fox Sports

Apolo Ohno, the most decorated Winter Olympian in U.S. history with eight short track speed skating medals (two gold), and Olympic ice dance silver medalist Tanith White will serve as reporters for NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. As reporters, Ohno and White will report at various venues and locations throughout the Games, and will contribute to features on a variety of platforms including The Olympic Zone – a 30-minute nightly show that airs on NBC affiliates. 

Ohno makes his third Olympic appearance with NBC Sports Group, after serving as a short track analyst at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and as a reporter at the 2012 London Olympics. White made her Olympics debut with NBC Sports Group during the 2014 Sochi Games, serving in the same role.

Ohno serves as a short track analyst for NBC Sports Group. His short track career is highlighted by a record eight Olympic medals over three Winter Games, including two gold, two silver and four bronze; 12 national championship titles; three World Cup overall champion titles; and a total of 21 World Championship medals: eight gold, seven silver, and six bronze. White has worked as an ice dance analyst and reporter for NBC Sports Group’s figure skating coverage, including the U.S. and World Figure Skating Championships, and the Grand Prix series. A two-time Olympian in ice dancing, White and partner Ben Agosto won an Olympic silver medal at the 2006 Torino Winter Games – the first ice dancing medal for a U.S. team in 30 years…

…Former Ohio State All-American and NFL All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman returns to FOX Sports as an NFL and college football analyst. Spielman, who began his broadcasting career with FOX Sports Net in 1999, serves as a game analyst during the upcoming NFL season and contributes to the network’s extensive college football coverage. A 1988 graduate of Ohio State University, he was a two-time All-American at linebacker for the Buckeyes and received the Lombardi Award, honoring the nation’s top college lineman or linebacker, following his senior season. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Spielman was taken 29th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions went on to play 11 seasons with te Lions, Bills, and Browns, earing four Pro Bowl appearances before retiring in 1999.

Spielman entered broadcasting in 1999 with FOX Sports Net where he worked as an NFL studio analyst for two years before joining ESPN in 2001. With ESPN, Spielman primarily worked on ESPN College Football Saturday alongside play-by-play partner Sean McDonough and sideline reporter Todd McShay…

…Four prominent ESPN commentators will have new college football roles for the upcoming 2016 season, it was announced by Mark Gross, ESPN, senior vice president, production & remote events. Samantha Ponder joins the ABC Saturday Night Football telecast as a reporter, while play-by-play commentator Joe Tessitore moves to the ESPN College Football Primetime game. Additionally, Steve Levy who returns to a weekly college football play-by-play role, forms a team with Brian Griese to call action on ABC or ESPN on Saturday afternoons.

Ponder will continue her role as a contributor for the Emmy-award winning College GameDay Built by The Home Depot and College Football Live, and then join the returning ABC booth of play-by-play commentator Chris Fowler and analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Ponder, who started at ESPN in 2011, has worked as a reporter in the past for college football (Thursdays) and college basketball, as well as Longhorn Network events.

Tessitore will make the transition to ESPN’s Saturday primetime game after serving as play-by-play caller for Thursday night action last season and as host of SEC Nation on SEC Network. He will work alongside returning analyst Todd Blackledge and returning reporter Holly Rowe. Tessitore joined ESPN in 2002, and has worked various roles on the network’s college football, basketball, boxing and horse racing coverage.

Levy, who joined ESPN in 1993 and will continue his SportsCenter hosting duties, will work an afternoon window on ABC or ESPN with Griese and field analyst Todd McShay. Levy called hockey games for many years including the Stanley Cup Finals and NCAA Frozen Four, and had previously served as an ESPN college football play-by-play commentator for four seasons (1999-2002), as well as calling a handful of regular-season and bowl games over the years… 

…The 2016 ESPYS will be hosted by WWE Superstar, actor and television host John Cena, who is best known as a 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion and record-setting Make-A-Wish granter. The ESPYS will be broadcast live on ABC Wednesday, July 13, at 8 p.m. ET from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Cena is the host and executive producer of American Grit, a new military-inspired competition series on FOX and has appeared in hit comedies Trainwreck and Sisters

…ESPNcricinfo has announced Mahela Jayawardene will join the world’s leading digital cricket brand as a pundit for Sri Lanka’s Test series against England, starting on Thursday 19 May. Jayawardene, who played 149 Tests for Sri Lanka and more recently worked as a batting consultant for England, will form part of ESPNcricinfo’s in-depth Test coverage, which encompasses news and views from the ground, match reports, interviews, and the site’s unrivalled ball-by-ball live scores and commentary. As part of his contributions to ESPNcricinfo’s Test match coverage, Jayawardene will feature as a guest pundit on the site’s video shows, providing insight and analysis into the series. The videos provide comprehensive previews and reviews, as well as post-Test analysis and a look forward to the One Day International series between the nations. The former Sri Lankan captain will also contribute to the ESPNcricinfo’s editorial content, adding to site’s extensive coverage of the 2016 Sri Lanka series.

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