Olympian Shawn Johnson Kicks Off Rio Fever in Nashville

By Justin Stokes

So the 2016 Summer Olympics technically don’t start until tomorrow, but Nashville got an early taste of the action last Friday.

That was when the city had its “Breakfast of Champions” brunch event at the First Tennessee Park’s Club Lounge Space, which makes up the new Nashville Sounds stadium. It was brought to the city by both the Nashville Sports Council and Comcast.

The tables were almost full by seated patrons who ate their carefully crafted brunch that was prepared by the in-house staff, but the real excitement came from the presentation following the brunch. President and CEO of the Nashville Sports Council Scott Ramsey warmed the crowd with his introduction, and passed the baton to Comcast’s vice president of product development Preston Smalley for the “Comcast Olympics Dashboard Demo,” which was specifically designed for this summer’s event.
Smalley’s presentation showed through a television screen what tools are found within the Xfinity X1 system.

Front Row to Rio

Using the voice search function found on the remote control, Smalley wowed the crowd with the display of the X1 Dashboard’s new programming of content. Crowned the “Front Row to Rio,” he shared with the crowd that this summer’s games have 41 different disciplines covering 28 sports (and 306 events overall) in a period of 19 days.

While a trip to Rio sounds lovely, those attending the Olympics would have their own personal marathon of trying to catch as many events as they can, eventually falling short of their attempt to see it all. Through a voice controlled search prompted by the television’s remote, Smalley was able to remove the human limitations of time and space with his verbal exploration of content found within the X1’s channels.

Now You Don’t Have to Choose What to Watch

The search was pretty wide too, plugging nine different networks across the NBCUniversal stream. Borrowing from the “NFL RedZone” playbook, NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics brought viewers the Gold Zone channel which features highlights and replays of various events for those who can’t decide what to watch. Those wanting to learn more about the various sports or those athletes giving it their very best can toggle through biographies and listings categorized by nation, competition and other criteria.

If you add to that this year’s games, which will bring 4,500 hours worth of streaming and 6,700 hours worth of total coverage according to GeekWire, the demo was collectively considered by the audience as something worthy of the Olympics’ prestige. 

The fun didn’t end there though. Smalley’s gorgeous public use of the X1 system closed with WSMV newscaster Rudy Kalis introducing Olympic athlete Shawn Johnson, who took the stage for a brief question and answer session.

The now-retired American representative in the 2008 Olympics shared her story of how she took both the gold and the silver medals for the balance beam and floor exercise respectively. The now-24-year-old author of two biographical works shared with her fellow Nashvillians various stories about her six years of official Olympics training, which included her infamous “Wheaties box” story that would eventually see her as a professional spokesperson for many iconic brands.

The 2016 Summer Olympics commence on Aug. 5, and will run until Aug. 21. To get more information about Xfinity’s “The Road to Rio,” and NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games, be sure to visit www.nbcolympics.com. Readers can also download the official NBC Olympics – News & Results app via the Google Play store.

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