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The Evolution of Olympic Coverage On February 18th 1960 the 8th Olympic Winter Games opened in Squaw Valley California the first Olympics to be held in North America since 1932 In addition to some 1000 athletes and several thousands spectators the opening ceremonies were watched by several CBS television cameras marking the beginning of television coverage of the Olympic Games on American Television The anchorman for these first televised Olympics was Walter Cronkite and several CBS sports reporters did play-by-play of various events and a handful of CBS newsmen were dispatched to Squaw Valley to interview medal-winners and dignitaries Considering how extensive television coverage of the Olympics has become and how much broadcast rights fees nowadays go for it may surprise many that CBS paid just 50000 for broadcast rights to Squaw Valley and spent another 450000 for production and that the network broadcast just fifteen hours of coverage Despite the favorable time difference not much of the coverage was live For one thing on most weeknights CBS had just a half-hour in prime-time sometimes an hour and another 15 minutes at 1115 PM Eastern and Pacific times Thus most of what was seen were edited highlights making use of the then newly developed art of videotape editing CBS however did air live a handful of events most notably some figure skating and the final two games of the ice hockey tournament the US against the Soviet Union and the US against Czechoslovakia The US hockey team who had lost the gold-medal game to the Russians four years earlier at Cortina Italy were not expected to medal at Squaw Valley But after winning two games against weak opposition Team USA stunned Canada and then on the second-to-last day of the Olympics upset the Russians The next morning the final day of the Squaw Valley Games the US came back from a 4-3 deficit after two periods to score six straight
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