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Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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January 22, 2009 12:35 PM

Universal Sports to broadcast famed Hahnenkamm alpine races Fri-Sun

Posted by Ron Judd

Universal Sports, the 24-hour Olympic sports channel that we recently announced (see below), is now available on some cable systems and over the air (digital channel 5.2) in the Seattle/Tacoma market, and it will broadcast the Hahnenkamm downhill and other races from Kitzbuehel, Austria, this weekend. See the release below. Note also that the network plans to broadcast the full spectrum of winter sports leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Games.

If you don't get Universal (HELLO? DIRECTV? We're not paying you $100-plus a month to miss basic services offered on Comcast!"), you can still watch the events online at

Release follows:



Men's Alpine Ski World Cup Coverage Starts This Friday; Women's World Cup Starts This Saturday from Cortina d'Amprezzo, Italy

LOS ANGELES -- January 22, 2009 -- Americans Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan, TJ Lanning and the best skiers in the world will tackle the Hahnenkamm --the most technical and dangerous downhill course on the World Cup circuit, as Universal Sports presents exclusive broadcast and webcast coverage of the FIS men's alpine ski World Cup, starting this Friday from Kitzbuehel, Austria.

In addition, Universal Sports will present coverage of the women's World Cup, starting Saturday, with downhill from Cortina d'Amprezzo, Italy. (The women's super-G and downhill, originally scheduled for Thursday and Friday, have been cancelled due to weather conditions).

COVERAGE ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports, available in 30 million homes, will present a premier broadcast on its 24-hour television network of the women's World Cup from Cortina, d'Amprezzo and men's World Cup from Kitzbuehel (all times ET):

Friday Men's super G at 10 a.m.

Saturday Men's Downhill at 10 a.m.

Women's Downhill at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday Men's Slalom (runs #1 and #2) at 10 a.m.

Women's Giant Slalom (runs #1 and #2) at 1:00 p.m.

LIVE COVERAGE ON UNIVERSALSPORTS.COM: Universal Sports will offer free, live webcasts on All events will be available for on-demand viewing (all times ET):

Friday Men's super G at 5:30 a.m. (LIVE)

Saturday Women's Downhill at 4 a.m. (LIVE)

Men's Downhill at 5:30 a.m. (LIVE)

Sunday Women's Giant Slalom (runs #1 and #2) at 3:15 a.m (LIVE).

Men's Slalom (runs #1 and #2) at 4:15 a.m. (LIVE)

TIM RYAN JOINS UNIVERSAL SPORTS ON-AIR TEAM: Veteran broadcaster and NBC Olympics commentator Tim Ryan will host Universal Sports' ski coverage. Ryan will join former U.S. Ski Team member Steve Porino to call the action from the Universal Sports studio in Los Angeles, Calif. Ryan will host coverage of the upcoming Alpine World Championship from Val d'Isere Feb. 3-15, men's World Cup from Sestriere, Italy and women's World Cup from Tarvisio, Italy Feb. 21-22 and the FIS Finals from Are, Sweden Mar. 11-15.

MICHAELS ON TIM RYAN: "Tim Ryan brings tremendous knowledge and perspective to our ski racing programming. He has the unique combination of being a master storyteller and excellent race caller. As we move forward to bring more production value to our ski coverage, the addition of Tim Ryan helps us on every level.," said David Michaels, NBC Emmy Award-winning producer and head of Universal Sports production.

LIGETY ON KITZBUEHEL: "Kitzbuehel is the Mecca of ski racing. It's pretty unbelievable. Last year was my first time racing downhill then. It was so scary. It's a crazy, crazy, crazy race."

LANNING ON KITZBUEHEL: "It is the gnarliest course in the world. I watched lots of people crash last year. I cannot wait to get a chance to ski it"

THE FAMOUS HAHNENKAMM RACES: The Hahnenkamm races at Kitzbuehel are the highlight of the World Cup tour and have been since it started in 1967. Everything contributes to make these competitions a huge destination during the season - the beautiful town built during middle age, the unique and treacherous "Streif" course which finishes near to the center of the city in front of tens of thousands of spectators. The entire festival atmosphere that surrounds the event is often compared to the Formula One Grand Prix at Monte-Carlo.

ALPINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ON NBC AND UNIVERSAL SPORTS COMING SOON: NBC Sports and Universal Sports will broadcast exclusive coverage of the 2009 Alpine World Championships February 2-15 from Val d'Isere, France.


Universal Sports' availability:

Universal Sports, the NBC all-Olympic-sports channel, is about to become available in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

The channel, which offers live coverage of World-Cup level competition of both Summer and WInter Olympic sports, will be offered on some local cable networks, and also over-the-air as a digital channel.

Here's where to find it:

Comcast channel 115
Click! Network channel 171
Hood Canal Communications channel 52
Rainier Connect channel 115
Wave Broadband channel 82
NBC over-the-air digital channel 5.2

DirecTV viewers, take note: Universal says negotiations are ongoing.

Let us know if you can get Unisports at your house, when you get it, and what you think.

Update: Universal is now available on Comcast channel 115.

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.