Behind The Scenes

Inside ESPN Digital Media’s
London Summer Olympics coverage

ESPN’s Summer Olympics page.

Editor’s note: Front Row continues its look at ESPN’s presence at the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

This week, launched its London 2012 Summer Olympics index page, a go-to source for the latest news and coverage from over a dozen writers, analysts and editors dedicated to Olympics coverage. Highlights of the page include OlympicCast, a combined hub for results and comments around Olympic events, including live results, CoverItLive, video updates, poll questions and upcoming events. Also featured is Sport Science: Olympic Edition video and “Summer Greats,” a ranking of the Top 30 Olympic athletes of all time as compiled by ESPN experts. Fans will also be able to weigh in on the ranking via Twitter (#SummerGreats).

Front Row spoke with Joy Russo, deputy editor of’s Olympics coverage, about preparing for this year’s Summer Games:

Which writers and editors are in London covering the Olympics?
Jim Caple, Wayne Drehs, Bonnie Ford, Julie Foudy, Jackie MacMullan, Alyssa Roenigk, Marc Stein and Michael Wilbon will be covering the Olympics for us this year. I will be editing on-site with another team of editors in Bristol. Given the group of talented writers and columnists we have at and espnW, it was not an easy decision – but ultimately, we compiled a team with vast Olympics experience and extensive versatility to drop in anywhere and produce quality content for all platforms. At an event like the Olympics, this is key.

How will our staff cover the Olympics in new and innovative ways on
We have video staffing in place to produce more original video than ever before, and having on-air talent like Julie Foudy and others gives us that distinctive voice and point of view. We are also launching OlympicCast, which will provide real-time results and a 24-7 CoverItLive chat through the duration of the Olympics, starting on Friday with the Opening Ceremonies. We will also be using Skype to bring more up-to-date reports on breaking news stories as they present themselves on the ground in London.

How long did it take to research all the stories of the athletes competing in the Olympics?
Outside of covering these athletes in past Olympics, the “research” begins shortly after the last Summer Olympics cycle. The company’s commitment to cover these athletes in their respective environments before the Olympics – Bonnie D. Ford’s feature on Mark Cavendish and Wayne Drehs’ long-form on Ryan Lochte are perfect examples – give us an opportunity to give our readers an inside look before the Games begin and help us plant our stake as an authority on all things Olympics.

Of all the stories ESPN discovered, which ones do you think are the most compelling?
This is a really tough question. One of the biggest reasons I love being part of the Olympics coverage for is the fact that there is always more than one great story. Yes, Phelps-Lochte will be a big, obvious storyline, but it’s the lesser-known stories that are most compelling to me and the writers. Everything from the debate out of Saudi Arabia around women’s participation in the Games, to runner Guor Marial (man without a country), to Oscar Pistorius competing, to Ashton Eaton trying to win gold in the decathlon, to London as a backdrop to all of this – it’s hard to pick just one, as you can tell.

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