Universal Premieres Countdown to Sochi

2013-10-30 10:35

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 30) – The U.S. Ski Team's partner Universal Sports Network will debut Countdown to Sochi, a weekly show capturing the most compelling stories leading up to the 2014 Sochi Games tonight at 8 PM ET – just 100 days from the start of the opening ceremony. The 15-week show will air every Wednesday at 8 PM ET until February 5, and showcase Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls through exclusive interviews and profiles like the new “Train Like a Champion” and “Countdown Conversation” segments. The show will also have extensive coverage of recent winter sports competitions and Olympic qualifying events and “Sochi Social,” a weekly roundup of the hottest topics and trends on social media.

“Countdown To Sochi” Highlights

Watch Ted Shred
Names like Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White and Apolo Ohno, are synonymous with the Winter Games, but if you haven’t heard of Alpine skier Ted Ligety (Park City, Utah), you will come February. Already an Olympic gold medalist, Ligety is in position to win more medals than any other American at the Sochi Olympics.

The X Files
New extreme sports will make their Olympic debuts in Sochi, including the adrenaline pumping slopestyle and action-packed snowboard cross events. Snowboarding superstar Shaun White (San Diego, CA), who already owns two Olympic halfpipe gold medals, has his sights on winning the inaugural slopestyle gold medal.

Teen Queens
Who will be America’s new sweetheart? Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO), who last year became the youngest world slalom champion since 1974 at the age of 18, could be the next U.S. alpine superstar; figure skater Gracie Gold (Chicago, IL), 18, has high expectations training under legendary coach Frank Carroll; already a World Champion, Sarah Hendrickson (Salt Lake City, UT), 19, has her sights set on Sochi where women’s ski jumping will make its debut.

Known on Twitter as @kikkanimal, Alaskan native and World Champion cross-country skier Kikkan Randall will compete in her fourth Olympics at Sochi. Will her instincts lead her to become the first U.S. female to win an Olympic nordic gold medal?

The Comeback Kids
All eyes will be on skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) this season as she looks to come back from a serious knee injury at the World Championships. Teammate Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) recently returned to competition after a 20 month absence due injury in pursuit of his fifth Olympics. Can they still dominate on the slopes and defend their Olympic titles?


Tonight's premiere episode features alpine skier and two-time Olympian and World Cup gold medalist, Steven Nyman (Park City, UT), in the Countdown to Sochi “Train Like a Champion” series. Every week, Universal Sports reporter Nick Gismondi literally steps into the shoes, boots or skates of a different athlete to experience what it really takes to perform at an elite level. This week, Nyman takes Gismondi along for a 60 mph ride during wind tunnel training to show him the efforts he takes to increase speed on the slopes.

Countdown to Sochi will bring viewers closer to Olympic hopefuls and familiarize them with their stories, and is an essential guide for those who want to know what to watch this February,” said Dean Walker, SVP of production, Universal Sports Network. “Universal Sports airs the most Olympic sports programming of any network year in and year out, so no one is better positioned than we are to tell the stories of these athletes and to deliver all the news leading into Sochi over the next 100 days.”

In addition to each week’s half-hour show, will have bonus content and outtakes from interviews and features in addition to extensive highlights from upcoming Alpine Skiing, Figure Skating, Bobsled, Skeleton, Luge, Speed Skating, Snowboarding, Ski Jumping and Curling international events. 

Universal Sports Network is now available on Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon FiOS, satellite providers DIRECTV and DISH and numerous regional cable and IPTV operators in markets across the country.


Craig Hummer - Host
Craig Hummer is the host for Countdown to Sochi on Universal Sports Network after hosting Countdown to London in 2012 and Vancouver NewsDesk for the network in 2010.

Jenny Cavnar - Host
Jenny Cavnar is the co-host of Countdown to Sochi on Universal Sports Network. The Colorado native has been a part of Root Sports’ Colorado Rockies team since 2012, and also covers college football, basketball and hockey during the baseball for the network.

Follow your favorite #Olympic athletes as they #Countdown2Sochi every Wed at 8 PM ET only on @universalsports.

Follow the U.S. Ski Team on Twitter, Facebook or on the USSA Network.



Preview the new U.S. Ski & Snowboard website.