“It doesn’t matter who is in the lead, they are going to get caught!” – Ato Boldon on Usain Bolt’s 100m gold medal victory
“She just flies higher – that’s all there is to it.” – Tim Daggett on Simone Biles’ gold medal vault
“I apologize for not making the right decisions and not having the right people around me.” – Justin Gatlin to Cris Collinsworth on his suspensions
RIO DE JANEIRO – August 15, 2016 – NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, continued Sunday night on the networks of NBCUniversal.
Primetime host Bob Costas opened up Sunday night’s coverage on NBC from NBC Olympics’ studio located inside the International Broadcast Center in Rio. Day 9 on NBC was highlighted by Usain Bolt of Jamaica winning gold in the men’s 100m final. He becomes the first ever to win three consecutive gold medals in the event, while rival Justin Gatlin of Team USA won silver, and joins Bolt as the only men to ever win three consecutive 100m medals.
Both Bolt and Gatlin were profiled in feature pieces prior to the 100m final. Costas traveled to Jamaica earlier this year to interview Bolt and spent time with him in his home country, while NBC’s Cris Collinsworth had a candid discussion with Gatlin about his career, including his previous track and field suspensions.
Track and field coverage also included South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk’s gold medal win in the 400m, with Team USA’s LaShawn Merritt taking bronze in the event; Team USA’s Allyson Felix, Phyllis Francis, and Natasha Hastings qualifying for the women’s 400m final; and the semifinal rounds of the women’s 1,500m. If Felix wins gold in the 400m tomorrow, she will become the first woman in track and field history to win five gold medals. In addition, Tom Hammond narrated a feature on van Niekerk and the unique relationship he has with his 74-year-old coach Ans Botha.
Coverage on NBC also featured women’s gymnastics all-around gold medalist Simone Biles adding to the two gold medals she has already won in Rio with a gold in vault; “Final Five” U.S. teammate Madison Kocian capturing silver in the uneven bars; the men’s gymnastics floor exercise final; and Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross with a victory against the Australian team of Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bawden in the women’s beach volleyball quarterfinals. Coverage began with women’s Olympic diving, where Shi Tingmao earned China’s eighth consecutive gold in the event.
This evening’s Olympic action also featured Andy Murray of Great Britain’s gold medal win in men’s tennis singles over Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro on Bravo.
Costas closed the program by interviewing Michael Phelps in the NBC studio.
Following are highlights from tonight’s evening and primetime coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the networks of NBCUniversal:
TRACK & FIELD – NBC
Analyst Ato Boldon on Usain Bolt’s gold medal in the 100m: “It’s not supposed to be that easy! But, when you can finish the way this man has consistently finished over the last year, it doesn’t matter who is in the lead, they are going to get caught!”
Boldon on Bolt’s gold medal win: “With these three Olympic golds in a row, Bolt has now put an enormous gap between him and everybody else in this sport. For your consideration, ladies and gentlemen, Usain Bolt, the best of all time, for a place on your list of the best athletes ever – (Mohammad) Ali, (Michael) Jordan, maybe (Michael) Phelps after this week. Whoever you have on your personal list, what Bolt has done at 100m for nine straight seasons and the dominance he’s shown over now three Olympic Games in a row, I think warrants you making some room on your best of all time athlete list.”
Boldon on Gatlin’s silver medal win in the 100m: “Gatlin ran as well as he could be expected to run tonight. But, there is nothing that anybody can do about the final 50m of Usain Bolt.”
Hammond on Usain Bolt’s attitude: “Some people think he’s arrogant and a show off, but he has respect for the sport and respect for the other competitors. Yes, he does like to be playful, but in my experience he’s shown a lot of respect.”
Boldon on Bolt’s height: “He has 41 steps to take to finish this 100m, everyone else has 44. His height is not just his gift, the real gift is that at 6’5” he can turn that big wheel of his around as fast as guys that are much shorter.”
Bolt to reporter Lewis Johnson: “I knew from the semifinals that I would win. I could tell that I felt good, I felt smooth. I knew Justin Gatlin was going to get his start as always; he always has a signature start. All I have to do is stay cool and get back into the race at 60m.”
Bolt to Johnson on how he is able to balance having fun and focusing on the race: “For me, it goes together. Being with the fans, dancing, joking around and having fun – it all goes together – the competition, everything.”
Boldon on Bolt in the 100m semifinal: “I’ve seen all I need to see. I don’t know what they’re going to do against that in the final. He is looking that good and that easy to run 9.86? You better hope he loses a shoe or something in the final.”
Boldon on Gatlin winning his 100m semifinal heat: “That’s just about a perfect semifinal run for Justin Gatlin. Forget the time, run to the front, once you have the lead and win assured, shut it down, and get ready for the final. Do not show your cards in this round.”
Boldon on the crowd for the men’s 100m: “This is like the Oscars and the Super Bowl rolled into one, the amount of celebrities we’ve seen in the building to watch these semifinals and to watch the crowning of the world’s fastest man.”
Boldon on Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa’s gold medal win in the 400m: “We told you this was going to be a fantastic race. Michael Johnson came here tonight to visit our booth and he told us he thought that his world record was safe. Guess what Michael Johnson? The world record has been destroyed!”
Boldon on van Niekerk: “Wayde van Niekerk puts together the performance of his life, in lane eight, a lane that no one has ever run and won the Olympic final on in any other major race. He found a way to not only win, but to put away the last two Olympic champions.”
Analyst Sanya Richards-Ross on Team USA’s Allyson Felix winning her heat in the women’s 400m: “This was a very impressive run for Allyson Felix, who has only run maybe two or three 400m this year. She looked to control the whole race. A lot of times when you face the best competition in the semifinal round, you want to get in their head. You want it to feel like, ‘Hey, I’m here, I’m present, and I’m going to beat you in every single race.’ I think Allyson wanted to do that tonight.”
Boldon on Team USA’s Phyllis Francis winning her heat in the 400m: “I thought this was as good as I’ve seen her in the first half of a 200m this year. But she still had enough left to summon the strength that we know her for. She made up a lot of ground toward the home stretch.”
Cris Collinsworth’s Interview with Justin Gatlin – NBC
Cris Collinsworth in an interview with Gatlin: “Did you ever knowingly put anything in your body, rub anything, inject anything in your body to enhance your performance?”
Gatlin: “No I didn’t. And, at that point in time I had no reason to. I was Olympic gold medalist. I was double gold world champion in 2005. It was nothing that I needed to gain an edge in a relay meet in Kansas. There was nothing I needed to do to try to boost up my performance. I was the man already.”
Collinsworth: “Do you understand the skepticism, or the belief outside that many times it’s the person with the best pharmacist that’s winning these events, and why now with a second positive test people are going to question everything you do?”
Gatlin: “Of course, I can totally understand that. I apologize for not making the right decisions and not having the right people around me. I take full credit for the person that back then was more naïve, and I should have listened to me.”
Collinsworth: “What was the low point in that whole thing?”
Gatlin: “When people acted like I didn’t exist. That was the low point. When my name was never spoken anymore. That was probably the lowest point because I work hard. I work hard for who I am. I work hard for the accolades that I do have.”
Collinsworth: “What would a win in this Olympic Games mean to you?”
Gatlin: “I can’t even fathom it. I think sometimes, I cross the finish line, a win, how would I react? I think that I would just lay on the track and cry. As much happiness as I’ve had in my life I’ve had equal as much pain. When I cross that line the only thing I’ll think about is tears.”
Click here for the full piece with Collinsworth and Gatlin.
Bob Costas’ Interview with Usain Bolt – NBC
Bob Costas to Bolt on his personality: “To me, there’s a difference between showing off and having charisma. I don’t mean to embarrass you, but you have showmanship – which is different than showing off – and charisma. People who don’t know anything about track and field will stop and watch you.”
Bolt: “I always explain to people who ask ‘Why are you doing that?’ It’s a performance. I like it, people love it, and I like doing it. You’re not only just always going to run and that’s it. ‘What’s Usain going to do today?’ It excites them, and it excites me to go in there and give them a performance.”
Click here for the full piece with Costas and Bolt.
GYMNASTICS – NBC
Play-by-play announcer Al Trautwig on Simone Biles’ gold medal in the vault: “Think of all the great ones – Nastia (Liukin), Carly (Patterson), Shawn (Johnson), the ‘Magnificent Seven,’ Mary Lou Retton, this is the first time an American woman wins a gold medal in vault and that deserves a standing ovation.”
Analyst Tim Daggett on Biles’ vault: “She just flies higher – that’s all there is to it. All of the components you need to soar, she has them. Super-fast run, great technique.”
Daggett on Madison Kocian’s silver medal win in the uneven bars: “She is phenomenal. I love watching her do bars it’s one of my favorite things in gymnastics. She’s so light and airy. It looks like such fun unfortunately there were a couple of handstand positions that were a little bit short.”
Trautwig on the results in the men’s floor exercise: “This is absolutely pure joy unfolding here in the Olympic arena. No, words, there are no words. No British gymnast has ever celebrated a gold like that, and Brazil has never come close to this. For the first time ever fielding a full team!” *Max Whitlock of Great Britain won gold, followed by Brazil’s Diego Hypólito with silver and Arthur Mariano with bronze
BEACH VOLLEYBALL – NBC
Analyst Kevin Wong on Walsh-Jennings and Ross: “It’s such a different team, a different chemistry. There was a little more poetry when Misty May-Treanor was out there, but it’s been nothing but in-your-face relentlessness from this new version.”
Wong on the Australian team: “Definition of insanity – you keep on serving April Ross, she’ll keep shutting you down.”
Bob Costas’ Interview with Michael Phelps – NBC
Phelps to Costas on ending his career in Rio: “Where I am now is exactly how I wanted to finish my career. I was able to come back, and able to do things that I wanted to accomplish. Looking back at this week, it’s been nothing but a fun, exciting week. This is the cherry on top of the cake I wanted. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”
Click here for the full piece with Costas and Phelps.
DIVING – NBC
Potter on gold medal winner Shi Tingmao of China: “She’s is diving so beautifully…the poise of an Olympic champion.”
Analyst Laura Wilkinson on silver medal winner He Zi of China in the fourth round: “She has phenomenal takeoffs. That is what she’s known for, these massive starts.”
TENNIS – BRAVO
Play-by-play commentator Andrew Catalon as Great Britain’s Andy Murray defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in the gold medal match: “Murray strikes gold again! Andy Murray is the first player to win two gold medals in singles, the first player to repeat as an Olympic Champion. He has now won 18 consecutive matches.”
Analyst Paul Annacone on the match that lasted over four hours: “We saw the absolute best of Olympic tennis right there. The emotion and heart that it took for Juan Martin Del Potro to fight that hard in this match…just the best.”
ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. The 2012 London Olympics were watched by 217 million Americans across the networks of NBCUniversal, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history.