They say you can’t go home again, but they also say you can never get too much of a good thing. Find the middle ground between those two maxims, and you may get a hint of what Katie Couric is feeling this week. It was just announced that she will be hosting the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games after all.
Couric has hosted three previous Games for NBC: in Sydney, Salt Lake City, and Athens, so she might have known she was on the shortlist for this year too. But, there are changes to this year’s NBC anchor lineup, including the addition of Mike Tirico, who will be replacing Bob Costas as the primetime host for this year’s Games. Tirico, though he has been with NBC covering sports for some time, is a rookie sitting in the middle chair for the Olympics. Couric, who has the experience, just found out she would be joining him for the opening show a week ago. Not a lot of time to prep for one of the biggest news events of the year.
Couric told CNN she’s very excited about the opportunity: “I’m really excited to dive in and start educating myself about this particular Olympics… I think the geopolitical backdrop is so much more intense than previous games… I’ve been paying attention to a lot of the things that’ve been going on in the world… Some of the athletes of course I know, but luckily I’m a quick study and a fast learner and hopefully I’ll have everything under my belt.”
Couric said she hopes to balance all those political undercurrents with the stories that always come out of the Olympic Games. “(Those) wonderful stories of determination and resilience and sacrifice are part and parcel of every athlete who makes it to this level of competition…”
Some in the media have expressed concerns that current US politics may have an adverse effect on the nature of the Games this time around. Others, including Couric, disagree. They believe the Olympic Games are bigger than day-to-day politics, and that the spirit of the Games will transcend any political tension.
That spirit has been evident in the recent cooperation between North and South Korea leading up to the Games. The two countries have long been at odds, but they have chosen to come together and march unified in this year’s competition. Whatever happens next, the world will be watching, and Couric and Tirico will be there to explain it all.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.