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Winter Olympics features diversity in broadcast booth too

William Douglas, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Anson Carter expects to surprise some casual sports fans who tune into the 2018 Winter Olympics for ice hockey.

"You might not watch the whole game, but you might see what's happening between periods, and then you see a black face on TV talking about the game, giving some insightful analysis on what's going on," Carter said.

The 2018 Winter Games, which officially begin Friday, will have the largest contingent of black athletes in its history, helping to debunk the stereotype that blacks don't participate in so-called non-traditional winter sports.

The games will also feature diversity on the air. NBC's Mike Tirico makes his debut as the prime time face of the Winter Games, succeeding Bob Costas, who had hosted the networks' Olympic prime time coverage since 1992.

Carter, a Canadian who played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League, will analyze hockey games played in Pyeongchang from NBC Sports Group's International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn.

Although he's known to regular hockey viewers from his NHL and college hockey coverage on NBC Sports Network and "The MSG Hockey Show" in New York, Carter realizes that he might seem like an unconventional choice to those who only pay attention to the sport during the Olympics.

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"I want to make sure I'm bringing my 'A' game to the table because it is all about diversity," he said. "You can't talk about being diverse on the ice but then off the ice you don't have the diversity as well when you have people capable of doing the job just like anybody else."

Carter said he's aware that a perception that black people know or care little about hockey.

That perception was recently reinforced by a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which Chance the Rapper played a New York Knicks basketball sideline reporter hopelessly trying to analyze a New York Rangers hockey game.

"Let's do that hockey!" Chance the Rapper said in the skit that went viral on social media.

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