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Psst, NBC: This Freep Sportswriter and Michigan Snowboarder Only Seem Like One Person


February 15, 2018, 7:12 PM by  Alan Stamm

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The one dressed for sportswriting is Nick Baumgardner of the Freep. The one at the Olympics is Nick Baumgartner. 

A slip early Thursday by Todd Harris of NBC Sports is understandable, as well as humorous. 

Just one consonant separates Olympic athlete Nick Baumgartner from world-class journalism competitor Nick Baumgardner. Both are avid sports buffs from Michigan and have facial hair. They're just two years apart in age.

But only one missed a bronze medal in snowboard cross at Bogwang Snow Park near Pyeongchang, South Korea. And it's not the Detroit Free Press keyboard athlete tagged by the network announcer:

Nearly eight hours later, after waking up in Ann Arbor, the Nick with a "d" in his last name reacts:

That star is a 36-year-old from Iron River in the west-central Upper Peninsula, a two-time Winter X Games medalist now at his third Olympics -- where he fiunished fourth Wednesday in snowboard cross. 

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The Nick who's in South Korea. (Facebook photo)

The 34-year-old desk jockey with nearly the same name is a Michigan State graduate who doesn't snowboard. "I survived downhill skiing once and figured that was enough for me," he tells Deadline. 

Baumgardner's career began at the Lansing State Journal as sports freelancer in 2006 and sports desk intern the next year. He then covered high school games in northern Indiana for half a year and Western Kentucky University athletics for the Bowling Green Daily News for four years. 

Back in this state, he reported on the UM Wolverines for MLive for six years and joined the Freep last August to cover UM basketball and football. 

Though he's not a competitive snowboarder, Baumgardner is cool enough to have the most Twitter fans -- 38,400 followers -- of the three guys sharing this social media moment. The UP athlete has nearly 3,900 and the NBC sportscaster has 20,400.

Alas, finishing first in this category is not a medal event. 


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