The 2022 Beijing Olympics have seen Lindsay Czarniak step up into a hosting role for USA. Czarniak previously served as a reporter for NBC’s Olympic coverage in 2006 and was a host and desk reporter for them in 2008, and she was one of three hosts (alongside MJ Acosta-Ruiz and Lolo Jones) for the women’s-sports-focused On Her Turf last summer. This time around, Czarniak is a host for USA’s coverage, and she told AA via e-mail that’s thrilling for her:
“I’m so excited about the opportunity to be immersed in a variety of different winter Olympic sports. It’s an awesome mix of hosting, reporting, interviewing that’s really satisfying. I’ve really enjoyed the roles I’ve had prior to this one at the Games but this is unique because of the amount of events being broadcast on USA Network and the ability to dip into all of them.”
While Czarniak has covered both Summer and Winter Olympics in the past, she said there’s something special about the Winter Games and the terrain they use.
“I love the Summer Olympics, but ever since I was a little kid, there was something that lit up inside me when it came time to watch the Winter Olympics. On one hand, I think it’s the unique venues being larger than life – the ski jump, the beauty of the slopes and the sound of skis carving into the mountain.”
She said the sense of danger with Winter Olympic sports is interesting as well.
“There is a level of risk with some of these sports that strikes me as slightly elevated from the summer Olympics. Both require an unprecedented amount of dedication and determination from the athletes. But ski jumping, bobsled, luge—these are sports not for the faint of heart.”
Czarniak said her 2008 Beijing Olympics experiences still stand out in her mind, with part of that being about a fun personal experience with her father.
“I had such a great time covering gymnastics in Beijing. I was hosting a show dedicated to gymnastics that was on Oxygen Network at the time. A highlight for me was going to those events and getting the chance to interview the athletes after their competition was over. The opportunity to speak to the gymnasts and hear their stories fresh off the competition was thrilling, and exploring the culture of Beijing was another memorable aspect of those Games.”
“One of my favorite memories, though, was the fact that my dad was also covering those games for USA Today. I will never forget having the chance to go to the Great Wall of China with my dad. It was special to experience the magic of the Olympic Games with him both as a daughter and a fellow journalist.”
The 2008-2021 span was a long time away from the Olympics for Czarniak, who worked with ESPN for a fair portion of that time (2011-17) and for Fox beginning in 2019. She said she’s thrilled to get the chance to return to Games coverage for NBC.
“It’s been surreal because as time passes, you forget how moving the Olympics are. The things that feel familiar are the people and the work ethic that everyone covering an Olympics seems to share during these Olympic weeks. There is an energy in the building that is unmatched. One thing that feels different is this time, I’m on set between events and sometimes joined by an analyst.”
“What I’ve found is as the stories unfold, it’s the one time champions become colleagues, and you can really watch in real time older generations of athletes (who are sitting on set with you as analysts) pass the torch to the younger Olympians. I remember sitting beside (gold medalist from 1998) Angela Ruggiero, and the hockey player we were interviewing from Team USA who had just won their game mentioned looking up to Angela and her teammates. That was a goosebump moment.”
Czarniak said last year’s On Her Turf was a great concept, and a chance to show off the unique stories of female Olympians.
“I absolutely love it. I am blown away by each of the conversations because every woman we have talked to has a unique story. These athletes and role models have so much to share and a lot to say. They empower me and above all, getting to host this show with MJ has been so much fun. I also am grateful to have the chance to talk about such important topics that impact female athletes and will for years to come.”
As for these Games, Czarniak said there’s a lot to look forward to.
“I love the variety of all of it, but I’m pumped to see if [figure skater] Nathan Chen can bounce back from his fifth-place finish (in 2018) to win gold. Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton both did that exact same thing. I’m intrigued by Shaun White, and also can’t wait to see Team USA defend gold in [women’s] hockey!”