US Olympic hopefuls already shooting NBC promos

BY foxsports • November 21, 2011

Kerri Walsh's cheeks were cramping from smiling so much.

The beach volleyball star was one of about 100 American athletes who each spent a hectic day at a West Hollywood studio last week shooting NBC Olympic promos and interviews for everything from the local TV news to ''Access Hollywood.''

This is the third straight games for which the network has hosted a one-stop shopping of shoots with the U.S. Olympic Committee. This one - leading up to next summer's London Games - was bigger and busier than the sessions before Beijing and Vancouver. After the Comcast merger became official earlier this year, the company added more channels and platforms, including E! Entertainment. The growing popularity of social media also filled the athletes' itineraries last Tuesday through Saturday.

''It's quite a little factory,'' said NBCU Television Group chief marketing officer John Miller.

Gymnast Jordyn Wieber, the world all-around champion, started her day there Wednesday at 8 a.m. and didn't wrap up until 6:30 p.m. She got her hair and makeup done, then her 16 stops included the company's regional sports networks, ''NBC Nightly News,'' USOC marketing campaigns and doing flips with other gymnasts in front of a green screen.

The one frequent question over the course of the day that stumped the 16-year-old: What's your hidden talent?

''I couldn't think of one,'' she said with a laugh.

Athletes also bring childhood photos and home videos to be scanned in. The invitees included established stars such as Nastia Liukin, Hope Solo, Ryan Lochte, Allyson Felix and Maya Moore. The list also featured gold medal contenders in sports like archery, fencing and judo.

Some of the clips may not be broadcast on TV between now and July, but there's plenty of space for them online, Miller said.

Walsh and beach volleyball teammate Misty May-Treanor, who won gold at the last two Summer Games, did an interview for E! with Bruce Jenner, who was an Olympic decathlon great before he was a reality star. Walsh doesn't plan to watch it when it airs, though, preferring to avoid catching herself on TV.

''But I'll hear all about it from my family,'' she said.

Many of these athletes have yet to actually qualify for the Olympics. Eleven women's gymnasts attended, and there are only five spots on the team.

''That's definitely a little bit weird,'' said Wieber, a devoted E! fan.


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