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Shawn Johnson, Tom Brokaw & More Celebrity Olympic Memories (Videos)

What makes the Games special? Watch Tom Brokaw, Shawn Johnson, and more insiders’ best Olympic memories.

Tom Brokaw The longtime NBC anchor and Olympics host wasn’t at the Los Angeles Coliseum when he witnessed his favorite Olympic moment—he was in a hotel. Sitting in front of a TV like the majority of Americans, Brokaw recalls breaking down when he watched his friend and former colleague, Rafer Johnson, the 1960 decathlon gold medalist, light the Olympic flame in Los Angeles in 1984.

Shawn Johnson: The ChampionIn the summer of 2008, you could find Shawn Johnson standing on a podium in Beijing with a medal around her neck. Four years, a torn ACL, and a Dancing With the Stars title later, you can still find the retired gymnast doing handstands—and keeping a close eye on who is going to win big in the 2012 Games.

Hannah Storm: The Reporter Under PressureAs an NBC anchor for the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2002 Games, Hannah Storm has reported live from several of the most iconic Olympic moments of the past two decades. But she also was in the unfortunate position of breaking the news of the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Games, which injured 111 and killed two. Watch Storm recount tales of incredible triumph—can anyone say Kerri Strug?—and unthinkable tragedy.

Jeff Zucker: The CEO at Game TimeSure, the Olympics provide a nice boost in Nielsen ratings, but we’ve got a hunch that the real reason former NBC CEO Jeff Zucker fought so hard for coverage rights is sentimental value. After getting rejected from Harvard Law School, Zucker was recruited as a low-level researcher for NBC during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Zucker stuck by NBC through 11 more Olympic Games, rising to a field producer for Today and ultimately the CEO of the network. But it’s not the athletic feats of the Olympics that stand out in Zucker’s mind—it’s the people.