If you tuned into the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, you were part of one of the largest viewing audiences in NBC history. An estimated two billion viewers were expected to watch on television, and 35,000 people were expected in the audience in Torino, Italy. NewsChannel 11's Kealey McIntire tells us hundreds more watched from right here on the South Plains.
Thousands of miles away in Italy, 2,500 athletes from 85 nations officially kicked off the winter Olympics. And right here in Lubbock Troy's Ski Apparel Owner Phillip Howard also anxiously awaited the start of the games. "I'm going to watch every bit that I can," says Howard.
He prefers the winter games over the summer Olympics for two reasons; one because he's a skier himself. "The sporting events, it's more fun to see somebody shooting down a hill than it is to see somebody jumping over a hurdle, but that's just me," he said.
Reason number two: business. "It's kind of hard to get people to come look for a ski jacket when it's 70 degrees outside," explained Howard.
The shop has been slower this season due to the mild winter. However, Howard hopes the Olympics will bring more visibility to winter sports, and bring more people to his shop. "If we can get snow in front of them on a TV, then maybe they'll plan a nice ski trip to Colorado."
Our NewsChannel 11 staff also celebrated the day by throwing an Olympics kick-off party, as the games air on our network NBC. Also at NewsChannel 11 you may recall we have direct ties to opening ceremonies. Our own Karin McKay and Abner Euresti have both run the Olympic torch.
Abner ran first, carrying the torch for the Atlanta summer games in 1996. Karin then ran a leg for the 2002 winter games held in Salt Lake City both said it's an experience they'll always remember.
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