The Parade of Nations. Asking, “What is curling, exactly?” Debating which athlete will next compete on Dancing With the Stars. There are certain mainstays around the Winter Olympic Games that we’ve come to depend on, and that includes near-constant coverage from the journalists broadcasting live from the Games.
But this year will look a lot different due to a variety of factors—the ongoing pandemic, the strict protocols the Chinese government has placed on those traveling to Beijing, and the diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s alleged human rights abuses among them. And because of that, the majority of the NBC team is staying home to report on the Games from the U.S.
For Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, the change of plans comes with mixed feelings.
“The pandemic obviously has changed plans in a multitude of ways. This is just another example,” Savannah Guthrie, who was originally supposed to host the network’s Opening Ceremony coverage live from Beijing, told People. “Like everything, we’ve just adjusted.”
“Normally, this is two weeks where we get to bond and have a great time as a team,” Kotb also told the publication. “So that part I’m missing, because I love that part. That’s the bummer part of it.”
Because Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie had COVID earlier this year, they were not able to make the trip. “That’s the reason I can’t be there, because I just had COVID way too close in time,” said Guthrie. “And there’s a not-insignificant risk that you pop a positive test while there, and if you do, that triggers all kinds of protocols that are understandable, so it just didn’t make sense for us.”
However, both women say their kids are relieved that their moms will not be traveling this year. “My kids are real happy. When I said, ‘Mommy does not have to go to China for two weeks,’ they were very, very happy,” said Guthrie. “The main upside to not going is to get to be with your kids. When we do go, we miss them like crazy.”