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Olympic Journal


LONDON

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Day #1 is in the books ….

We had great meetings and I could not be more proud of being a part of this production.

NBC is doing 5330 hours of coverage across all platforms of media … A record by nearly 2500 hours. It would take one network 7.5 months (24 hours a day) to air that many hours …

Tomorrow is our first day on site at Tennis and I am beyond excited to walk the grounds of Wimbledon… We are on the air 8 hours a day (at least) on Bravo everyday, so please tune in!!!

Everyone needs to get the NBC Olympics App for your iPad or iPhone … And NBCOlympics.com for hours of streaming video and so much more …

Our hotel is beautiful (all suites) and sits on Chelsea Harbor … It also is far enough out of town that we are away from the traffic and hustle and bustle of the Olympics

Enjoy the games …

More to come ….

Love to all,

Jason


Day #2

Wimbledon is amazing … I cannot believe how beautiful a venue it is for the Olympics … It was 9 degrees today in what is supposed to be COLD London!

Federer and Murray were around today, we walked the grounds, did our prep work and shot some really cool stuff … Let the games begin. We are on for at a minimum 8 hours a day on Bravo … Preempting TOP CHEF!!! Love to everyone,

Jason


Day #3

Two days til the opening ceremony …

Susan and the kids have arrived safely … Max has every appendage crossed that he might be given the opportunity to see Team USA (and his hero Kobe), I better not choke ….

The honor of being part of NBC’s Olympic Coverage is overwhelming, every member of our peacock family are the best at what they do and even better people.

We are the only production that has over 8 hours of live coverage a day on a network carrier, nothing is even close … We have coverage on Courts 1 – 5 and a beautiful studio to do our pre and post shows.

Cheers and don’t forget to download NBCs Olympics App and follow the brilliant work my friends are doing at all the venues.

Until tomorrow …

Jason

PS – My producers are the nicest guys I have worked with on Olympics by far … It is going to be fun!!!


DAY #4

The kids had a blast around London … M&Ms seem to be Sydney’s favorite part of Europe …

Max sat next to Jack Robinson the point guard of the 1948 Gold Medal Winning Basketball team from the London Games (1948).

Tomorrow we start our first of 8 consecutive days of 9 hours of coverage from 7 am/et until 4 pm/et from the All England Lawn and Tennis Club (AKA – Wimbledon) … Featured tomorrow Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Serena Williams.

I am going to watch the opening ceremonies on TV with the family … You are going to love Mr Bean and Mr Bond!!!!

Enjoy the games …

Jason


DAY #5

After 8 hours and 30 minutes of non-stop tennis Day #1 of Tennis is in the books … We showed Federer, Serena and the Bryan brothers all advance … Each searching for the elusive “Golden Slam” = The Grand Slam + the Olympic Gold. Along our 8 hour journey we spent time with 12-time Olympic Medal Swimmer Dara Torres, NHL Star Alex Ovechkin and first lady Michelle Obama.

Tomorrow at least 8 more hours (68 commercial breaks) starting at 7 am/et … Enjoy the tennis as we present 5 different tv courts featuring Roddick, Sharapova, Murray, Venus and so many more great matches …

I am beat and crashing before we start up again in 7 hours …

Love to all,

Jason


Day #6

The Family went to Buckingham Palace and met up with the Sherman Family (Marty, Hope, Max and Zoe … We love them lots) …

After that they made it to Wimbledon and watched Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova advance to the second … Rain cut cut the matches down and we are now behind schedule but we still managed to produce 8.5 hours of compelling Olympic Tennis.

Tomorrow its a combination of 1st and 2nd round play … We get Venus, Serena, Roddick, Isner, Clisters and Federer … Weather permitting we are on for a minimum of 10 hours …

Max and Sydney have been invited by my old Volleyball Family (who I miss a lot) to watch USA vs Brazil in the first round of the Olympics … But don’t get me wrong, Steve Mayer and Tomy Lanni (my producers) are 2 of the finest guys I have worked with in 22 years of TV.

If I haven’t said it enough, being part of these games is the greatest honor of my career and I am already dreaming about the call to Direct for NBC at the Winter Games in Sochi come 2014.

Enjoy the Games …

Love to all …

Jason


DAY #7

Today we had True Tennis Royalty at Wimbledon …

Federer, Serena, Venus …
* 6 total gold medals (Federer -1 , Serena -2, Venus -3)
* 17 Wimbledon singles titles (Federer -7, Serena -5, Venus -5)
* 38 Grand Slam titles (Federer – 17, Serena – 14, Venus – 7)
* Three hall of famers
* All No. 1s
* Three of the most popular tennis players on the planet

And that does not even include the fact that all 6 American matches went to the Red, White & Blue … Including Andy Roddick and the 6’ 9” John Isner …

While we were on for nearly 10 hours today the family went to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben …

After playing tourist they went onto Women’s Indoor Volleyball and watched the USA Team crush the Brazilians … With Kobe Bryant in the crowd.

Tomorrow we have Roddick, Sharapova and apparently A LOT of rain coming.

Enjoy the Games …

Love to all,

Jason


Day Whatever (#8)

4 Days of Tennis and we have been on the air for 37.5 hours … LIVE!

Today we had a slight weather delay but still had some amazing matches … Including a record breaking match where (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) defeated Milos Raonic (CAN) 6-3, 3-6 25-23 …. The 25-23 was the longest set in Olympic history, second longest set in men’s singles tennis history behind only 70-68 Isner/Mahut. It lasted 3:57 the longest of the tournament, third set alone took 3 hours. Tsonga had 60 winners, 27 unforced, 17 aces and was broken just once. Raonic had 74 winners, 40 unforced and 23 aces. Even though he lost the match Raonic won 2 more points in match (180-178)

Third set only stats:
Tsonga: 129 points won, 41 winners, 17 unforced, 11 aces, saved all four break chances Raonic: 128 points won, 50 winners, 28 unforced, 15 aces, 0/4 on break chances

We also had Venus, Murray, Sharapova and Djokovic destroy their opponents (each match lasted less than an hour).

The Bryan brothers and Williams sisters also won there doubles matches inching closer to Olympic Gold …

Tomorrow we have every stud in Tennis on the air … Federer, Murray, Sharapova, Serena, Djokovic …

While working the family went to the Tower Bridge and avoided the crowds of the Olympics to take in some London History … But its hard to hide from the games …

Going to crash and find my voice … Tomorrow we do it again for at least 8 hours on Bravo starting at 7 am/et ….

Love to all,

Jason


Day #9 is in the books and we had a spectacular list of stars grace our 8.5 hours of coverage bringing our total to 46 hours of LIVE Olympics Tennis over 5 days of air and I have loved every second (almost) …

The numbers to support our star power today:

Grand Slam winners (11): Federer, Del Potro, Hewitt, Djokovic, Azarenka, Venus, Serena, Clijsters, Ivanovic, Sharapova, Kvitova (Total Slam titles combined: 52)

Wimbledon winners (7): Federer, Hewitt, Djokovic, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, Kvitova Players to have ranked No. 1 (9): Federer, Hewitt, Djokovic, Azarenka, Venus, Serena, Clijsters, Ivanovic, Sharapova Olympic Medal winners – Any (5) : Serena, Venus, Federer, Djokovic, Zvonareva.

Players to have won a title (31): 31 of the 32 players in singles today have won at least one title (Istomin who was spanked by Federer is our only winless player).

Tomorrow we are down to the quarterfinals and like our last 5 days you can enjoy it on Bravo for at least 8 hours starting at 7 am/et …

Enjoy the games … I’ll be home in a week.

Love to all,

Jason

PS – All photos were taken on my camera by one of our PA’s, she did a spectacular job!


Day #10

Today was our shortest day we had great matches and the time went by rather fast … We actually got off the air by 8 pm 6 day total to 54 hours LIVE hours of TV coverage …

The All England Lawn and Tennis Club is an extraordinary venue so its only fitting that we would have a marquee weekend ahead of us …

Here is the lineup for tomorrow’s matches starting at 7 am/et …
Men’s
Federer Vs Del Potro

Murray Vs Djokovic
Women’s
Serena vs Azerenka (Current #1 in World)
Sharapova Vs Kirilenko

and

Both USA Women’s Doubles Teams have made it to the Semis

Williams and Williams could face fellow countrywomen Huber and Raymond for Gold. While the best men’s doubles team in the World the Bryan Brothers are in the semis.

One great addition to our weekend … John McEnroe joins our announce team …


Day #11

After a truly record breaking day for us and the Finals are set …

We were on for 9 more hours (bringing our total hours on Bravo to 63 hours in 7 days)

The day started with an Epic Battle between Roger Federer and Juan Del Potro and the excitement NEVER ended … After dropping the 1st set Federer battled back to win the second and then the match really began … A 2:46 minutes final set that concluded with a 19-17 win for Federer, who is in line for his first Singles Gold Medal and the elusive Career Golden Slam (All 4 Grand Slam Titles and an Olympic Gold). Federer assured himself at least a silver which is important since his Swiss team has been shutout thus far at the summer Games …

In the other Men’s Semi England’s Andy Murray knocked off former #1 Novak Djokovic and hopes to end his losing streak in finals of the Big Tournaments … A win for Murray would elevate him to a new level in both the world of tennis and his country.

Our women’s final airs tomorrow on NBC Sports and what a match we have … Serena Williams, who has been the most dominate player on either side demolished the women;s #1 player in the world Victoria Azerenka and she will meet Maria Sharapova … Serena is also in line for the Golden Slam …

The Bryan Brothers moved one step closer to Gold as the advanced to the Gold Medal match against the French Team of Tsonga and Llorda …

The icing on our day was having Jon McEnroe in our both he is a legend or the game and a brilliant announcer … Even better Kobe Bryant was in the crowd to watch both Federer and Serena … And even Skiing Gold Medalist from Vancouver Lindsay Vonn stopped by the trucks to say “Hello” … A perfect Kodak moment for me!

Here’s tomorrow schedule for Centre Court
Start: 12:00
Mixed Doubles – Quarterfinals
ROBSON / MURRAY (GBR) V STOSUR / HEWITT (AUS)
Women’s Singles – Gold Medal Match
Serena WILLIAMS (USA) [4] V Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) [3]
Men’s Doubles – Gold Medal Match
BRYAN / BRYAN (USA) [1] V LLODRA / TSONGA (FRA) [2]

During this time Natasha arrived took the kids to London Bridge and the Hampton Court Maze … They are having a blast and slowly getting used to the bus, trains and subways …

Enjoy the games … Remember we have move to NBC Saturday and Sunday and then my work here is done!

Love to all,

Jason


DAY #12

What a day … 8 more hours on the air between NBC, NBC Sports and MSNBC and the USA had a Golden Day!

It began with Serena Williams first Single’s Gold Medal and the completion of The Golden Slam as she demolished Maria Sharapova 6-0 , 6-1 … As an added bonus Mary Carillo did Play by play with Renae Stubbs, she is not only a brilliant announcer but a sweetheart of a woman …

The next match on Centre Court saw Mark and David Bryan win Gold in the Men’s Doubles by defeating Tsonga and Llorda from France … The Bryan’s solidified their reputation as the greatest doubles team in Tennis history … They too joined Serena as the newest member of the Golden Slam family.

Our day ended with Venus and Serena advancing to the Gold Medal match in woman’s doubles tomorrow … My last day of work at this years games …

Sunday’s play is as follows – To be seen on NBC Sports, NBC and MSNBC depending on the match!

Centre Court
Start: 12:00
Women’s Doubles – Gold Medal Match
HLAVACKOVA / HRADECKA (CZE) [4] V WILLIAMS / WILLIAMS (USA)
Men’s Singles – Gold Medal Match Not before 14:00
Roger FEDERER (SUI) [1] V Andy MURRAY (GBR) [3]
Mixed Doubles – Gold Medal Match
TBC V ROBSON / MURRAY (GBR)

Court 1
Start: 12:00
Men’s Singles – Bronze Medal Match
Juan Martin del POTRO (ARG) [8] V Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [2]
Women’s Doubles – Bronze Medal Match
HUBER / RAYMOND (USA) [1] V KIRILENKO / PETROVA (RUS) [3]
Mixed Doubles – Bronze Medal Match
TBC V LISICKI / KAS (GER)

Natasha, Susan and the kids Spent the day exploring London including a trip on the London Eye.

Enjoy the games … We’ll be home Wednesday night!

Love to all …

Jason


Day #13

And what a day it was … At one point we had 3 different shows going at the same time on 3 different Networks … Al Michaels Hosted the morning show from our Wimbledon Studio for NBC that I cut, We had the Women’s Doubles Gold Medal Match on NBC Sports Network and the Men’s Bronze Medal Singles Match on MSNBC … All Directed and Produced from our Truck …

Congrats to Andy Murray for finally winning something that matters too bad he cannot smile! The guy blew away Roger Federer in straight sets in front of his own country to capture gold …

Even more kudos go to Venus and Serena two great tennis Players who stand alone in Olympic Tennis History as the Only 4-time Gold Medal Winners … I can honestly say they are both great ladies and tremendous ambassadors for our country. I look forward to seeing them dominate again 4 years from now in Rio.

But, after nearly 80 hours of Live TV over 8 days the real champions are the men and women of my crew who performed flawlessly every second we were on the air. I am proud and honored to be on their team and will tell you that I have never been surrounded by more hard working and caring people from my 2 outstanding producers all the way down the line to our 8 PA/Interns …

My work here in London is done but I have 2 days with the family to take in a bit of the Games … The perfect way to close out my 4th Olympics …

Stay tuned for more …

Enjoy the Games …

Love to all …

Jason


Day #14

Sometimes Olympics Dreams aren’t about the athletes … Mine was 4 years in the making and a dream I wanted fulfill for my best friend and son Max. Before I left for Beijing in 2008, Max’s Uncle Chris gave him a replica Dream Team Jersey of Magic Johnson #15 and I promised him after I got home from China that I would get him in to one of their games at the next Olympics in London. Last night was my first and only chance to give my son this incredible opportunity …

As you all know these games had some MAJOR ticket issues and the few that were left for sale went to UK residents and European citizens, shutting out all US Citizens (and there are 1000’s from events and the Olympics Park).

After a million “No’s,” a miracle happened and as I was thanking my friends from NBC for inviting me to London, Bucky Gunts, NBC Senior Olympics Director and one of the coolest dudes EVER, handed me 2 seats (the story for this hand off is amazing but I will share it another time) … Needless to say, I was shocked, overwhelmed with excitement and my eyes started to well up for Max (and myself as his dad).

We had a blast …

We cruised Olympic Park and draped with the Stars and Stripes, we saw the Velodrome, Swim Venue, Olympics stadium and then watched (future Laker, I hope) Leandro Barbosa lead Brazil to a comeback win against Spain (Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka).

Then the fun began … The Dream Team took the floor and Max and out roared the Argentinian Crowd with “USA, USA, USA … “ Though it was close at the half, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Andre Iguadola lead the USA to a drubbing over Manu Ginobali, Luis Scola and Argentina.

Regardless of the score, there was no greater winners than Max and I …

One more day … We are off to Japan vs Mexico semi final men’s soccer …

Love to all …

Jason

PS – Bucky’s kind gesture epitomizes the NBC Olympics Spirit, no network treats its team top to bottom like NBC. They honor our hard work with respect and provide a first class experience and environment to create in. I cant wait for the Winter Games in Sochi.


Day #15 – The Final Day

To finish out the London Games, Max and I took Natasha to the Men’s Soccer Semi Final at Wembley Stadium. Mexico defeated Japan 3-1 and will play for the gold in a couple of days. It rained throughout the match but as you can see below … I was able to capture one of the goals …

One of the great things about the Olympics is that it reunites friends from across the planet every 2 years. Today we dined with Joe and Michele Lyons at the Torch Pub in Wembley Park … It was so special to see the big man and his wife; it reminds me of just how lucky I am to be in the TV Production world …

Tomorrow we fly home to Florida … But we take with us so many incredible memories as I close out my 4th Olympics’ Experience … Though my time is done here, many of my friends and colleagues are still putting in incredibly long hours to bring us the most amazing pictures and to tell the spirited stories that surround these games. Continue to watch and enjoy the games … I know I will …

Love to all and thanks for joining me on my journey.

Jason