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Category: Stephen Colbert

U.S. Speedskating shakeup ousts executive director, names interim boss

As reported here earlier Monday, U.S. Speedskating has fired executive director Bob Crowley and replaced him on at least an interim basis with Brad Olch, the former mayor of Park City, Utah.

The federation announced later Monday that Olch, a member of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Organizing Committee, had taken the job.

The move is part of a general shakeup in the federation that also included the dismissal of high performance director Guy Thibault and communications director Peri Kinder.

Crowley had been executive director for four years.

Olch, the Park City mayor from 1990 through 2002, lost a bid to regain that position last November by a 2-to-1 margin to incumbent Dana Williams.

Olch began work as U.S. Speedskating's boss Monday at the federation headquarters in Kearns, Utah.  Sources said that he has indicated he does not want the job on a permanent basis but that speedskating officials hope to change his mind.

U.S. speedskaters had a strong showing at last month's Olympics, with four medals in long track and a record six in short track.

The bankruptcy of a Dutch bank that was the federation's primary cash sponsor had left U.S. Speedskating with a $300,000 hole in the 2009-10 budget that Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert filled by asking for donations from his Colbert Nation, the fans of "The Colbert Report."

Colbert's high-profile involvement also gave the sport publicity it could not have bought at any price.

-- Philip Hersh

U.S. speedskaters get more ice time thanks to Stephen Colbert

There will more ice for the U.S. long-track speedskating team, thanks at least in part to Stephen Colbert's jibes at Canadians for having limited access to foreign athletes at the 2010 Olympic Oval.

Stephen That's why a group of Milwaukee-based Olympians were getting to Vancouver earlier than originally planned.

The official training period for all athletes has been advanced a couple days.

Brian Hansen of Glenview, Ill.; Jonathan Kuc of Champaign, Ill.; Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. of Wheaton, Ill.; Jilleanne Rookard of Woodhaven, Mich.; Trevor Marsicano of Ballston Spa, N.Y.; and Mitch Whitmore of Waukesha, Wis., all were on my Tuesday flight from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Vancouver.

They were headed to the Oval for a Wednesday practice.

-- Philip Hersh in Vancouver

Photo: Stephen Colbert. Credit: Robyn Cook / AFP/Getty Images.

Winter Games about to spring into action

A friend from the East Coast who had read the weather report for Vancouver, Canada, just called and asked whether he should pack a Hawaiian shirt for his trip to the Winter Olympics.

I told him to pack two.


There's a bit of hyperbole in that, of course, but the last thing one feels after arriving in the host city of the Winter Games that open Feb. 12 is winter.

It's spring here, with temperatures in the high 40s heading for the low 50s, and it's also warm and rainy (about 40 degrees) at Whistler, where the alpine and sledding events are to be held.

The 10-day forecasts foresee little change, which could mean poor snow conditions, especially on mountains where the alpine ski courses start at only a mile high. It could also mean fog, which means delays, which means a nightmare for broadcasters.

Everyone knew that was the risk of having the Winter Olympics in this gloriously beautiful city because of its ocean-tempered climate.

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Stephen Colbert talks with Dick Ebersol, 'competes' against Shani Davis

With the Winter Olympics less than a month away, it was time for Comedy Central show host Stephen Colbert to test his dedication to the Games.

NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol appeared on "The Colbert Report" on Wednesday and asked Colbert if he'd like to be a part of the network's Olympics coverage. Colbert said he wouldn't mind as long as he got the right title: "I kind of like host of 'The Tonight Show.'"

You can watch the entire exchange (including Ebersol's funny plea to the Colbert Nation) on the video below:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Dick Ebersol
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

While Ebersol gave the comical pundit permission to be a part of NBC's Olympics coverage (they don't give out those NBC sweaters to just anyone), Colbert's dream of making the U.S. speedskating team was shattered by Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis. As you may recall, these two have shared a tumultuous past. Check out the video:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Skate Expectations - Speedskating Race - Shani Davis
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

-- Austin Knoblauch

Stephen Colbert endorsement has fast effect on U.S. Speedskating coffers

The deal all but fell into U.S. Speedskating's lap.

And it quickly has made the sport's athletes feel more confident they won't be lapped by the competition in this Olympic year for financial reasons.

I'm talking about the fundraising arrangement between the Colbert Report and the speedskating federation, making the Colbert Nation the official sponsor of U.S. Speedskating.

It was announced Nov. 2 on the show, barely a week after the U.S. media -- me among them -- reported that the collapse of Dutch bank DSB had left a $300,000 hole in the federation's budget with the 2010 Winter Olympics on the horizon.  (The deficit actually was bigger, as DSB's contract gave U.S. Speedskating $350,000 in cash, of which $50,000 went directly to athletes and $300,000 to federation programs.)

Host Stephen Colbert told viewers to send donations to U.S. Speedskating through www.colbertnation.com. He promoted the effort again last Thursday with an appearance by 2006 Olympic speedskating champion Joey Cheek, who played along with a Colbert riff about lambasting Canada for its decision to limit U.S. athletes' training time on the 2010 Vancouver oval.  The segment (below) ended with cheers of "U-Ice-A!''

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
On Notice/Dead to Me - Canadian Iceholes
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating

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