POSTED: Monday February 15th 2010

"They're simply exquisite." Dick Button On Shen and Zhao


Switzerland Takes First Ever Olympic Gold Medal In Cross-Country

Sweden Takes First Olympic Gold Medal In Women’s Cross-Country Since 1968

VANCOUVER - February 15, 2010 - Daytime coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games continued today on NBC. Live gold medal final coverage included the women’s cross-country 10km individual gold medal final and the men’s cross-country 15km individual gold medal final. Also, live coverage of men’s snowboard cross competition.

History was made today for Switzerland. Prior to today, Switzerland had not won an Olympic gold medal in men’s or women’s cross-country. Dario Cologna was the man to end the drought. For the first time since 1968, a Swedish woman won gold in cross-country. Charlotte Kalla became the third woman ever to medal in the event for Sweden.

Dick Button stopped by the studio with Al Michaels to preview the pairs gold medal final live in primetime tonight.

Coverage highlights include:



BUTTON ON SHEN AND ZHAO’S SHORT PROGRAM PERFORMANCE: “They were wonderful. Their precision, their preciseness, their technique. All the elements that go into skating were simply breathtaking. Everybody says that they’re old. They’re 31 and 36. The Protopopov folks were too when they won an Olympic title. So that has nothing to do with it. They are in the best shape that I’ve seen any couple ever be in. They’re simply exquisite.”

BUTTON ON THE GERMAN PAIR SAVCHENKO AND SZOLKOWY: “I found what they did last night, what is true Olympic competitive spirit. They’ve been struggling and having a lot of problems during the year so far. Last night, they came through and did it magnificently. That I take my hat off to them.”

BUTTON ON THE GERMAN COSTUMES: “The music was ‘Send in the Clowns,’ and I think that’s what they’re trying to copy there. Don’t get me started on talking about costumes. We could talk for three hours about that.”

JIMMY ROBERTS ESSAY ON SHEN, ZHAO AND OLDER OLYMPIC COMPETITORS: “Seven months after US title holder Katie Denny was born, Shen and Zhao skated together in their first world championship. Now at an age when most in the sport had ceded the competitive high ground to those nearly half their years, the Chinese pair is back for their fourth Olympics.

‘We have come for the gold,’ they say. In their hearts that’s why everyone comes. But most are here to push themselves beyond any place they’ve ever gone before. They’ve come to compete. Like the swallows to Capistrano, they just keep coming back.

American Todd Lodwick so close to a medal yesterday, finishing fourth, is making his fifth Olympic appearance. But for a small and select cluster, there is only one reason to be here. For some, it works out. Dan Jansen side stepped tragedy and chased an Olympic title to four different games before dramatically seizing it in Norway. But for some, it doesn’t. Michelle Kwan won five world titles, but was ambushed twice by the young and unexpected before finally and tearfully admitting in Torino that she couldn’t chase gold any further.

Either way, the lure is strong. And so Shen and Zhao are back. They have accomplished much. Three world championships. Honored as the most influential sports figures in the history of the People’s Republic of China. And they were the other pair on the podium in Salt Lake City. But now they have returned for the one thing that matters most. The one thing to which they are pulled beyond all others.”

For the second day in a row, Roberts walked down memory lane with Al Michaels. Today, he showed a picture from the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics of Al and Dick Button.

Al Trautwig (Play-By-Play), Chad Salmela (Analyst)
Gold: Charlotte Kalla, Sweden
Silver: Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia
Bronze: Marit Bjoergen, Norway

SALMELA ON TIME DIFFERENTIAL IN CROSS-COUNTRY: “30 seconds at this level is a lot of time over 10 kilometers.”

TRAUTWIG ON THE NORWAY, SWEDEN RIVALRY: “Yankees, Red Sox is Sweden, Norway.”

TRAUTWIG ON SWEDEN’S WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY HISTORY: “Swedish women haven’t won a gold medal in cross-country since 1968 and in Olympic history they’ve only won two.”

TRAUTWIG ON KALLA TAKING GOLD: “They are rocking in Stockholm right now.”

“Everybody fell into Charlotte’s web.”

Al Trautwig (Play-By-Play), Chad Salmela (Analyst)
Gold: Dario Cologna, Switzerland
Silver: Pietro Piller Cottrer, Italy
Bronze: Lukas Bauer, Czech Republic

TRAUTWIG ON THE RANGE OF COUNTRIES PARTICIPATING IN THE EVENT: “We’re convening a special session of the U.N. here today. We have 50 nations and 96 skiers in the race.”

SALMELA ON SWITZERLAND’S DARIO COLOGNA WINNING GOLD: “The man of the hour, Dario Cologna, has done just about everything in two years that you can do besides an Olympic medal, and he’s got a gold his first try.”

TRAUTWIG ON COLOGNA: “Today, he did the greatest thing he’s ever done on skis.”

TRAUTWIG ON THE ITALIAN COMPETITORS: “The Italians are famous, or, if you like the word notorious, for rising to the occasion for the Olympics.”

Pat Parnell (Play-By-Play), Todd Richards (Analyst), Tina Dixon (Reporter)

PARNELL ON SNOWBOARD CROSS: “Over a 700-foot elevation drop that fights the balance of friction and force and sometimes a little bit of fear.”

RICHARDS ON THE SNOWBOARD CROSS COURSE: “There’s a lot of big features in this snowboard cross course, big sweeping turns, a lot of table tops, plenty of areas to mess with your rhythm.”

“If you get down in those ruts, it’s doomsday for you.”

RICHARDS ON TEAM USA: “The American team is just stacked with talent.”

PARNELL ON DEFENDING OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST USA’S SCOTT WESCOTT:“A powerhouse when it comes to snowboard cross.”

PARNELL ON USA’S NATE HOLLAND: “Nate has had a blistering year. Five-time Snowboard Cross champ from the X-games and the only rider who has managed to beat Vaultier of France on the World Cup circuit. That says volumes about Nate Holland’s ability.”

PARNELL ON FRANCE’S PIERRE VAULTIER: “Talking with the American team earlier this week, they can’t even figure out what he does, how he’s able to bring his knees so high up and absorb those jumps. They’ve been watching tapes of him. That’s how ahead of his game, that’s how diligent he is with his training and technique”

PARNELL ON AUSTRIA’S MARKUS SCHAIRER: “It’s not easy to ride with three broken ribs that he sustained at the X-games.”

RICHARDS: “It’s hard enough to sleep with three broken ribs, never mind navigate this course.”

Members of the media can get more information about NBC Universal and its programming on the NBC Universal Media Village Web site at

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Keywords · Vancouver 2010 · Olympics · Winter Olympics · Shen · Zhao · NBC

Name: Lyndsay Iorio
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