Winter Olympics 2014: Olympians turn pundits to guide BBC viewers through Sochi 2014


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The Independent Online

If you’ve ever won a medal for Britain in a Winter sporting pursuit the chances are you’ll be helping to guide BBC viewers through the Sochi games.

The BBC’s “world-class team of pundits and analysts” includes Olympians who rarely get to demonstrate their expertise in a prime-time sporting slot.

Amy Williams, the 2010 Olympic skeleton bobsleigh gold medallist, makes her Olympic broadcasting debut, giving her expert insight across the skeleton and luge events.

Wilf O’Reilly, who won two gold medals at the 1988 Winter Olympics when short-track speed skating was held as a demonstration sport, will commentate on the discipline, in which Elise Christie is one of Britain’s leading medal hopes.

The five-time Olympian and Ski Sunday presenter Graham Bell will analyse the action on the slopes with former British Olympian Emma Carrick-Anderson, who was once the UK’s leading slalom skier, overseeing the alpine skiing.

Familiar faces among the BBC team include Robin Cousins, the 1980 Olympic gold medallist and Dancing On Ice judge, who will cover the figure skating alongside Sue Barker.

Former World Champion Curler Jackie Lockhart will explain the intricacies of curling, an event where Team GB hopes lie with Eve Muirhead and David Murdoch. Lockhart will be teamed with Steve Cram, the former Olympic athlete, whose curling credentials were questioned when he began commentating on the sport in 2010.

The BBC coverage will be headed by Hazel Irvine, Jonathan Edwards and Clare Balding, who declined calls for her to boycott the Games in protest at Russia’s anti-homosexual laws. Ms Balding, one of Britain’s most visible LBGT figures, said she would not be “ cowed into submission” by homophobic elements in Russia.

The BBC will broadcast 200 hours of network TV coverage from the Games as well as up to six online streams covering all events, available on PCs, mobile and tablet devices.