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Michelle Kwan Joins NBC’s Coverage as Guest Analyst

NBC Sports and Oxygen Media will combine to air 16 hours from the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, the most prestigious and important figure skating competition outside of the Olympic Winter Games.

Oxygen, available in more than 74 million homes, will air 14 hours (10 hours live in ET) Wednesday through Friday, and NBC Sports will air the ladies free skate live ET in primetime this Saturday (9-11 p.m., ET/PT) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

NBC's primetime Olympic host Bob Costas will host of NBC's coverage when the world's best skaters take the ice in Los Angeles. Costas will be joined by Dick Button (co-host), the most recognizable voice in figure skating, and Michelle Kwan (guest analyst), the most decorated skater in U.S. history. Joining them to form the deepest talent roster ever assembled to broadcast the World Figure Skating Championships will be Tom Hammond (play-by-play), Scott Hamilton (analyst), Sandra Bezic (analyst), Tracy Wilson (analyst) and Andrea Joyce (reporter).

BUTTON ON U.S. LADIES: "Rachel Flatt is just charming and Alissa Czisny is beautiful. She's a dreamboat."

HAMILTON ON LADIES FAVORITES: "With Kim Yu-Na (Korea), watching her and seeing what she's capable of doing, you have to look at her as probably the favorite coming into this. She will be challenged by Mao Asada (Japan), last year's World champion, but defending at Worlds is really tough to do."

HAMILTON ON THE AMERICAN LADIES: "For the Americans, it's a very important World Championships because their placements determine how many entries they'll have at the Olympics next year. Alissa Czisny's done everything she can to break down her technique to be more consistent and that showed with a win at the U.S. Championship. I hope she can go to L.A. and throw down two great performances."

HAMILTON BREAKS DOWN THE MEN'S COMPETITION: "It's going to be a hotly contested World Championship on the men's side. If Patrick Chan (Canada) continues as an extension of the rest of his year, I've got to look at him as a favorite to win a World title. Jeremy Abbott (USA) won the Grand Prix [Final] title and Brian Joubert (France) is a former World champion. And there is a perceived level of opportunity because Jeffrey Buttle, the defending World champion has decided not to compete anymore."

HAMILTON ON THE U.S. MEN: "You have someone who's been there for a long time in Jeremy Abbott who has finally broken through and won a national championship. You've got a veteran like Evan Lysacek, who has been at this level for years and years ,and you've got Brandon Mroz who just came out of nowhere. So it's a real good mixed bag of American men."

HAMILTON ON THE UNLIKELY RISE OF BRANDON MROZ: "Brandon Mroz? He's been second in everything he's ever done so maybe he'll be second in Worlds too. He was second in {World] juniors last year and you look at what he did at the national championships this year, his first year as a senior. To be on the podium this year, well that's just superhuman."

WHO TO WATCH AT THE WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS:

LADIES
Mao Asada, Japan: 2008 World Champion (Kwan was the last woman to win back-to-back World titles in 2000-01)
Kim Yu-Na, Korea: Two-time World bronze medalist; 2008 Four Continents Gold medalist
Rachel Flat, USA: 2008 U.S. Silver medallist; 2008 World Junior Champion
Alissa Czisny, USA: 2008 U.S. Champions; second appearance at the World Championships
Fumie Suguri, Japan: Three-time World medalist
Miki Ando, Japan: 2007 World Champion

MEN:
Evan Lysacek, USA: Two-time World bronze medalist; Two-time U.S. champion
Jeremy Abbott, USA: 2009 U.S. champion; 2008 Grand Prix Final Gold medalist
Patrick Chan, Canada: 2008 Four Continents champion
Brian Joubert, France: 2007 World Champion; Three-time European champion
Nobunari Oda, Japan: 2008 Japanese Champion; 2005 World Junior champion
Brandon Mroz, USA: 2009 U.S. silver medalist; making World debut

PAIRS:
Aliona Savchenko & Robin Szolkowy, Germany: 2008 World champions; 2009 European champions
Pang Qing & Tong Jianm China: 2008 Grand Prix Final champion and Four Continents champion
Zhang Dan & Zhang Hao, China: 2006 Olympic silver medalists; 2008 World Silver medalists
Yuko Kawaguchi & Aleksandr Smirnov, Russia: Two-time Russian champions; 2009 European silver medalists
Jessica Dubé & Bryce Davison, Canada: 2008 World bronze medalists; two-time Canadian champions
Keauna McLaughlin & Rockne Brubaker, USA: Two-time U.S. champions; 2007 World junior champions
Caydee Denney & Jeremy Barrett, USA: 2009 U.S. silver medalists

DANCE:
Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto, USA: 2006 Olympic silver medalists; Four-time U.S. champions
Jana Khokhlova & Sergei Novitski, Russia: 2008 World bronze medalists; 2009 European champions
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, Canada: 2008 World silver medalists; 2008 Canadian champions
Meryl Davis & Charlie White, USA: 2009 U.S. champions
Oksana Domnina & Maksim Shabalin, Russia: 2008 European champions

In all, NBC Sports' broadcast team of Button, Hamilton and Kwan has won an amazing total of 19 medals at Worlds including 14 gold medals. Button won gold every year from 1948-1952 and took silver in 1947; Hamilton won gold in four consecutive years (1981-1984); and Kwan has a total of nine World Championship medals including five gold medals (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003), three silver medals (1997, 1999, 2002) and a bronze medal (2004).

This is the 99th World Figure Skating Championships and the first ever to take place in Los Angeles. The first Worlds were held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1896. The United States has played host to 11 World Championships, most recently the 2003 Worlds in Washington, D.C.

COVERAGE ON OXYGEN (all times live ET except where noted):Pairs Short Wednesday 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. ET/PT (taped Tuesday)
Men's Short Wednesday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT
Pairs Free Wednesday 12 midnight – 2 a.m. ET/PT

Men's Free Thursday 11p.m.- 1a.m. ET/PT

Original Dance Friday 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. ET/PT (taped Thursday)
Ladies Short Friday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. ET/PT
Dance Free Friday 12 midnight - 2 a.m. ET/PT

COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS:
Ladies Free Skate Saturday 9 – 11 p.m. ET/PT

About Oxygen: Oxygen is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and is currently available in over 74 million homes. The network was launched in 2000.


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