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Tufts In The Olympics: The Olympic Profiler

Tufts In The Olympics: The Olympic ProfilerCovering her fifth Olympic Games, Tufts graduate Lisa Lax continues to build her award-winning career covering the human side of the Games for NBC Sports. Salt Lake City.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02.08.02] Lisa Lax is no stranger to Olympic success and failure, triumph and defeat -- in fact, it's the foundation for her award-winning career. Lax, a Tufts graduate and producer for NBC Sports, is making her fifth trip to the Olympics this year with the overwhelming task of capturing all of the human drama behind the international games.

"You may not know her name, but if you watched NBC's coverage of the Olympics from Atlanta or Sydney, you are definitely familiar with her work," reports this week's TV Guide. "Lax heads the profile unit, whose main function is the production of dozens of biographical segments on Olympians."

She's profiled everyone from international figures like boxer Muhammad Ali to little known athletes like Hungary's Ervin Zador, who was slugged during a brutal water polo game in the 1956 Games that has since been coined "the blood in the water game."

The Tufts graduate's pieces have earned critical acclaim and industry honors, including several coveted Emmy awards.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, calls Lax "my most valuable, favorite employee."

And NBC and Ebersol are counting on Lax's work to give its coverage an edge over other media outlets.

"People can get the results from CNN or the Internet," Ebersol said, "but they'll get the stories from NBC."

To bring the stories of the Winter Games to life, Lax and her crew began working almost two years ago, starting her work before the 2000 Summer Games even began.

"With an industrious team of producers and researchers, who also contribute to The Olympic Show newsmagazine series [that airs on CNBC], the profile unit has built strong relationships with the athletes," reported TV Guide.

And that gives Lax a tremendous amount of material to work with.

"One of the huge advantages of having done The Olympics Show is we have this unbelievable library of amazing footage that we've been able to incorporate into the profiles," she told the weekly magazine. "We've caught up with some of these people two or three times, which is unheard of in profile land."

But the profiles aren't the only thing on Lax's plate in Salt Lake City.

"In addition to overseeing the production of about 60 profiles, the 37-year-old Tufts graduate, who joined NBC in 1988 as a production assistant, also supervises the Special Features Unit, a team of reporters who will be patrolling Salt Lake City looking for news and features," reported TV Guide.

She's also producing several segments about the mechanics of several of the extreme winter sports, including the sledding event "skeleton."

It's hard work, but Lax has no complaints.

"The Wiinter Olympic events are fun because they're raging, extreme," she told TV Guide. "It's been fun figuring our how to cover them."

"If I do my job right," Lax says, "hopefully, you will feel something about the athletes."

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