The Olympics are right around the corner (hard to believe) and today NBC will be announcing their roster of broadcasters. USA Today has an early look at who will be involved though and here’s their breakdown….

•Rookies: Past stars — NBC’s roster won 42 Olympic medals — making their Olympic TV debuts include wrestling’s Rulon Gardner, volleyball’s Kevin Barnett, soccer’s Brandi Chastain, sprinter Ato Boldon, distance runner Ed Eyestone and gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi

•The gamers: Tim Ryan, lead alpine skiing analyst for the past five Winter Games, works his eighth Olympics — but it’s his first on rowing and canoeing play-by-play. Craig Masback, who left TV to head USA Track & Field and is now a Nike “global” marketer, will be a marathon analyst — perhaps noting key footwear. Longtime NHL analyst Bill Clement played badminton growing up and called the sport at the 2004 Games where, says Solomon, he “fell in love with table tennis.” In Beijing, she says, he’ll analyze badminton, table tennis and shooting — “he said, ‘I’ll do anything you want.’ “

For Cris Collinsworth, an NBC NFL analyst, the idea is to do anything. Solomon says. Collinsworth, who covered 1996 Olympic track, will be a reporter with an “unlimited pass to go wherever he wants.” Most of the biggest roles go to returnees — NBC afternoon host Jim Lampley will have a record 14th Olympic assignment. But NBC’s Al Michaels, who famously raised belief in miracles for the 1980 U.S. hockey team, won’t be in Beijing.

Seems like a lot of the same people and most of the people above will be FOB’s for the Games. What’s an FOB you ask? Well that is a “Friend of Bob (Costas)” and he’ll have the opportunity to bring them into the studio to talk about specific events. It’s a shame that Al Michaels decided against it but I don’t blame him one bit. I really wouldn’t want to head to Beijing either.

NBC rings out its Olympics announcers (USA Today)