U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps used to train for six hours a day, six days a week when prepping for the Olympics. That’s 36 hours per week of crunches, pushups, bodyweight squats, pool drills, and mixed-intensity laps — all for the right to represent his country once every four years.
U.S. military members can relate. As part of basic training, soldiers undergo grueling hikes with weighted packs, water survival training, and team-building trials that push them to their physical and mental limits. Like athletes, they also represent their country on a global stage, albeit with higher stakes.
Comcast NBCUniversal proudly supports both the U.S. Olympic and military communities. That’s why, for the first time ever, we invited U.S. service members worldwide to stream all 4,500 hours of NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics for free from their desktop computers and personal devices. The streaming service reflects our long-standing commitment to supporting the U.S. military community across our business — from committing to hire 10,000 veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses between 2015 and 2017 to creating solutions that help military members build successful civilian careers.
“Few events unify the world like the Olympic Games, and it is only fitting that we made them accessible for those who chose to serve our country,” says Carol Eggert, retired Brigadier General and Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast. “We think it’s extremely important to find creative ways of supporting our employees who are veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and the military community as a whole.”
As a result of a partnership between Comcast NBCUniversal, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, and U.S. cable, satellite, and telco providers, the streaming service was available to more than 7 million active-duty and retired service members and their families.
“Few events unify the world like the Olympic Games, and it is only fitting that we made them accessible for those who chose to serve our country.”
Carol Eggert | Retired Brigadier General and Senior Vice President of Military and Veteran Affairs, Comcast
The service members who took advantage of the offer contributed to the record 100 million unique users who streamed the Rio Olympics in 2016, which included live coverage of all competitions.
From Phelps’ and Katie Ledecky’s 11 combined medals (nine golds and two silvers) to the women’s gymnastics team’s dominant performance, military members were treated to a historic show at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Seventeen military members were among the U.S. athletes at the Games, including 15 active troops, one veteran, and one civilian employee of the Navy. They included Air Force First Lieutenant Cale Simmons and Army Second Lieutenant Sam Kendricks, who faced off in the pole vault (Kendricks won the bronze), and Marine Second Lieutenant David Higgins, who joined an Army-dominated marksmanship squad in the shooting events.
In addition to the pride and excitement of watching U.S. athletes compete, Carol says, the Olympics provide welcome distraction for active-duty military. “For those who’ve taken the oath to defend our nation, it is a respite from the reality of conflict and a reminder of the power of unity,” she says.
Active-duty and retired service members and their families eligible to stream NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics for free
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