“The three Americans come in and shut out the rest of the world.” – Ato Boldon on Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin Sweeping the Podium
“I’m ready and I’m feeling good.” – Usain Bolt to Lewis Johnson after his 200m Semifinal Run
RIO DE JANEIRO – August 18, 2016 – NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, continued Wednesday night on the networks of NBCUniversal.
Primetime host Bob Costas opened up Wednesday night’s coverage on NBC from NBC Olympics’ studio located inside the International Broadcast Center in Rio. Day 12 on NBC was highlighted by defending two-time champion Usain Bolt advancing to tomorrow night’s men’s 200m gold medal final, and America sweeping the podium in the women’s 100m hurdles with Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin winning gold, silver and bronze, respectively. Track and field coverage also saw Ashton Eaton take the lead in the decathlon after day one and American Tori Bowie winning bronze in the women’s 200m final.
Coverage on NBC concluded with the bronze medal match in women’s beach volleyball as Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross secured the bronze medal in three sets against Brazil’s Larissa and Talita.
This evening’s Olympic action on NBCSN also featured a men’s volleyball quarterfinals match where Brazil defeated Argentina to move on to the gold medal finals, and a quarterfinal basketball game in which the U.S. easily defeat Argentina, 105-78.
Following are highlights from tonight’s evening and primetime coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on the networks of NBCUniversal:
Matt Lauer joined Bob Costas tonight to report on the evolving story involving Ryan Lochte and Brazilian authorities. Lauer spoke to Lochte over the phone earlier this evening and discussed that conversation with Costas. A link to the full video is available here.
Bob Costas: “Matt you spoke with Ryan Lochte via phone. He is back in the United States. Where was he when you spoke to him?”
Matt Lauer: “He said he was home. He didn’t want to get into too many specifics…He said he arrived home on Wednesday, today. He left Rio on schedule. This was the day he had always planned to arrive back home.
Nobody — he said when he was talking about that victims statement that he gave to the police — he said nobody, at the time he was talking to anybody in law enforcement said, ‘it would be a great idea if you stick around Rio while the investigation unfolds. We might want to talk to you.’
He went out of his way to say that he told them he was reachable, he would cooperate and that they could get to him through his agent or his lawyer. And he was interesting in his characterization of that meeting with police, that victims’ statement. He said it was casual, it was friendly, it was vague. They didn’t ask him a lot of questions. They did ask him what the gun looked like and what was taken from him. He said that he had a home burglary back in the States and he compared the questioning by police after that home burglary with what he went through here in Rio. He said ‘back in the States it was much more thorough, much more intense.’ And he seemed somewhat surprised by how few questions they asked him here, considering he just told them he was held up at gunpoint.”
Costas: “Did he say that the Brazilian authorities expressed any skepticism at all about his account?”
Lauer: “He said never during the questioning did they question his truthfulness. As a matter of fact, they seemed to support everything he said. At one point he said to me they said thank you and they congratulated him on his performance here at the Games.”
Costas: “In his conversation with you did he alter any of the details, tweak his story in any way?”
Lauer: “He did. He stuck to most of the story. He did change one thing. I would say he softened some things, or stepped back. One thing he did not say this time. He didn’t say he was pulled over by these people pretending to be police. They had gone to the bathroom in a gas station. They got back to the taxi and when they told the taxi driver to ‘go,’ he didn’t move. They said ‘let’s go again, we have got to get out of here’ and again the taxi driver didn’t move. And that is when he says two men approached the car with guns and badges and told them to get out and get on the ground. The three other swimmers, that you mentioned, did get on the ground. They sat on the curb. Lochte did not. He said ‘I have no reason to get on the ground.’
Now when he talked to Billy Bush on Sunday, he said that is when the guy took the gun put it to his forehead and cocked it. When he talked to me tonight, he said ‘that is when the guy pointed the gun in my direction and cocked it.’ And I pointedly said to him ‘you had said before it was placed on your forehead and cocked.’ He said, ‘No, that is not exactly what happened.’ I think he feels it was more of a traumatic mischaracterization. I think people listening at home might think that it was an embellishment at the time. But that is up for people to decide.”
Costas: “Obviously you and I have no particular knowledge of this but we know that the following thought is going through peoples’ minds. They can’t reach a conclusion, at least not a reasonable conclusion. But maybe there is no criminality involved here on either side, but there may be something of a personal nature that would have been embarrassing. So someone concocts a story, as people sometimes do, to cover it up.”
Lauer: “And I asked him about that pointedly. I said ‘Ryan, there are people out here, there is skepticism that you made this story up along with these other swimmers to cover up some other form of embarrassing behavior. That this was more about some swimmers blowing off a little steam, going out and celebrating that perhaps you were even with someone you shouldn’t have been with.’ He stopped me quickly. He strongly denied that. He said it is absolutely not the case. ‘I wouldn’t make up a story like this, nor would the others. As a matter of fact we all feel it makes us look bad. We are victims in this and we are happy that we are safe.’
He also said something interesting, Bob. He said originally he didn’t want to tell this story because he and the other swimmers felt that they had broken some kind of a rule of either the USOC or the swim team by being out at that hour and drinking. It was only after he realized that in fact being 21-years-old that they hadn’t broken any rules, that he decided to tell the story in the first place.”
Costas: “Matt, thank you. For now, at least, that is about as thorough as it gets.”
TRACK & FIELD – NBC
Analyst Ato Boldon on LaShawn Merritt in the men’s 200m semifinal: “We can talk about speed all day. Let’s make tonight the day we talk about lack of deceleration…that is an easy qualification as Merritt gets through to his first 200m Olympic final. He is looking up at the board as if it is his door, and no one is really challenging him in this semifinal.”
Boldon on why Usain Bolt is so good at the 200m: “He does something that no one else in this field is able to do. He doesn’t get enough credit for his ability to run the turn…He is able to run the turn and then not decelerate during the final 100m.”
Boldon on Bolt’s dominating history in the 200m: “He has dominated this event in a way that is just mind-boggling. He has run seven times under 19.60 seconds. That is a time that very few men have bettered. Just a handful of men have run the sort of times that Bolt has run in this distance.”
Usain Bolt to reporter Lewis Johnson after his 200m semifinal run: “I’m ready and I’m feeling good. That felt smooth. I’m happy and I’m on the right track. It is going to be hard (to go under 19 seconds). I may get a world record.”
Boldon on Justin Gatlin missing the 200m final: “I think Gatlin looked over way too early. And when he looked over he would have seen he had a lot of company…Kids at home; do not look across until you get to the line, particularly in an Olympic semifinal.”
Boldon on Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson beating out Dafne Schippers and Tori Bowie for the gold in the women’s 200m: “Unlike last year Thompson was ready this year and found a way to get it done. She is an Olympic champion now times two in the 100m and 200m. This was such a close finish last year as Schippers tore into the lead and eventually caught Thompson. Not this year. Schippers has to settle for second.”
Boldon on the women’s 100m hurdles semifinal heats: “The U.S. has now put three women into this final, in quite spectacular fashion, winning each of the three semifinal heats.”
Hammond as the results come in for the women’s 100m gold medal hurdles: “A U.S. sweep, the first sweep in this event in Olympic history.”
Boldon on Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin winning gold, silver and bronze in the women’s 100m hurdles: “The three Americans come in and shut out the rest of the world.”
Analyst Trey Hardee on Ashton Eaton after losing to Canada’s Damian Warner in today’s first event, the 100m: “Ashton is in a little bit of unfamiliar territory. Despite that smile I think he knew that this one wasn’t going to be very easy. Damian was going to make sure of it. I’ve never seen Ashton strain like this.”
Hardee on Eaton four events into the decathlon: “From what I’ve seen so far he hasn’t had that cutting edge killer mentality. But when he set the world record and won the World Championship last year he was 20 points ahead of Damian Warner. Right now Ashton sits 68 points up on Damian, so I really think he is going to do it.”
Eaton to Lewis Johnson on day one of his decathlon: “I was just trying to be tough and smooth. These Olympic and World decathlons are not like the other ones. It is 10 p.m. now and we started at 10 a.m. this morning, so it has been incredibly slow.”
Play-by-play commentator Todd Harris on defending Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese before competing in the Women’s long jump final: “Whatever brand she is building it is all about winning.”
DIVING – NBC
Analyst Cynthia Potter on Jessica Parratto’s mentor Jenny Thompson: “Jenny has been the number one inspiration in Jessica’s life according to Jessica. It is so great to have those role models… being around the great Olympic champion Jenny Thompson for all these years I think it has just put her in a great mindset.”
BEACH VOLLEYBALL – NBC
Analyst Kevin Wong in the second set as Walsh Jennings and Ross battle back to take the lead for the first time: “Marcio (Sicoli) the coach for team USA talks about the tempo of volleyball. By pushing it deep you change that tempo and all of a sudden the passes are a little higher, the approach takes a little more time. And back-to-back it has paid off.”
Play-by-play commentator Chris Marlowe on Walsh Jennings and Ross victory over Brazil’s Larissa and Talita: “It wasn’t easy. A very rough first set as passing problems popped up for Walsh Jennings again. But in set number two they suddenly found a rhythm and Kerri was able to steady out. From then on they were the dominant team.”
BASKETBALL – NBCSN
Analyst Doug Collins on the keys to the game for the U.S.: “This is a very small Argentina team. The United States must pound the paint, pound the boards, and defend the three point line.”
Collins on the U.S. battling back from an early deficit: “Eventually the United States’ size will wear Argentina down. They (Argentina) are playing with great passion, but they just don’t have the depth of the United States.”
Play-by-play announcer Marv Albert on the U.S. men’s team defeating Argentina to advance to the semifinals: “The United States able to answer the call after the slow start in what has been a ‘no question about it’ scenario here tonight as they look to Spain on Friday.”
VOLLEYBALL – NBCSN
Analyst Kevin Barnett on Argentina’s need to play freely against Brazil: “The best thing Argentina can do in this case is swing free, swing away, don’t play nervous. They are the underdog, so what. They have the arms on their side, they have the ball control and at times the defense to frustrate teams, and if they can get Brazil, especially after what happened last night with the women, even more pressure on their side.”
Barnett on what was the point of the tournament in the third set: “This is why you have a DVR. This is the genius of modern technology, so you can watch that again. What a rally! Sergio with some fantastic reads, some good spots, love this tournament.”
Barnett on Brazil advancing to the men’s volleyball finals: “Brazil should forever thank Wallace for his play over the last two matches, this one more of a team win. Brazil stepping up again in Olympic competition.”
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