FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES – AUG. 17 DAYTIME HIGHLIGHTS ON THE NETWORKS OF NBCUNIVERSAL

Tonight in Primetime: Usain Bolt – the World’s Fastest Man – Seeks to Advance to the Men’s 200m Final

Track and Field Coverage Also Includes Team USA’s Tori Bowie in the Women’s 200m Final; Gold Medal Finals in Long Jump & Women’s 100m Hurdles

Americans Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross Face Brazil’s Larissa and Talita in Women’s Beach Volleyball Bronze Medal Match


STAMFORD, Conn. – August 17, 2016 – Coming up tonight on NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

  • Primetime coverage, which begins at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on NBC, is highlighted by track and field, as defending two-time gold medalist Usain Bolt seeks to advance in the men’s 200m semifinals. Bolt won a third consecutive gold in the men’s 100m earlier this week, maintaining his position as the fastest man in the world.
  • Tonight’s track and field coverage also includes American Tori Bowie racing in the women’s 200m final for her second medal in Rio; 2015 world champion Tianna Bartoletta and defending Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese as U.S. contenders in the women’s long jump final; and a strong trio looking to put Team USA on the women’s 100m hurdles podium for a fifth consecutive Games. Elsewhere on the Rio track, American Ashton Eaton concludes day one of the decathlon with one of his best events – the 400m.
  • NBC’s primetime coverage also includes the bronze medal match in women’s beach volleyball, as Team USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross face off against Brazil’s Larissa and Talita.

Click here for a preview of tonight’s primetime action.

Following are highlights from today’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on NBC and the networks of NBCUniversal:

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TRACK AND FIELD – NBC AND NBCSN

Analyst Trey Hardee on reigning gold medalist Ashton Eaton coming second in the 100m portion of the decathlon: “He’s preparing for the things he can’t control. I think he knew he was going to lose this race. He was in pretty unfamiliar territory halfway through the race, you see him strain a little bit…that is an Ashton Eaton we have not seen in five years.”

Hardee on Eaton’s early performance in the long jump portion of the decathlon: “Ashton gets the white flag. He is the consummate professional…It’s a big, big opener for the defending champion.”

Analyst Craig Masback on Team USA’s Evan Jaeger who won silver in the men’s steeplechase, the first American medal in the event since 1984: “He earned that silver medal by taking the lead and pushing the pace…he beat (Ezekiel) Kemboi the greatest steeplechaser ever.”

Masback on Jager: “Evan Jager is not only in this race – he’s controlling it. He’s putting a hurt on these guys.”

Team USA’s Bernard Lagat, who qualified for the 5000m, to Lewis Johnson on teammate Hassan Mead, who went down during the qualifying heat: “I’m going to help him in the final, big time. As teammates, whatever happens, this is USA, and we’re going to make it happen.”

Masback on Ajee Wilson in the women’s 800m qualifying: “She’s been successful at every level of track and field – World Youth, World Juniors, Indoor Championships, she was a silver medalist at this year’s World Championships…a seasonal best for her and she did it looking pretty easy.”

Tom Hammond on South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who won her heat in the women’s 800m qualifying round: “There are more than 190 countries competing at the Games, and naturally that presents a microcosm of all sorts of social issues, including shifting societal views of gender and how to treat inter-sex athletes. South Africa’s Caster Semenya, the 2009 world champion, has been at the center of a gender controversy, due to her performances and some of her physical characteristics. Back in 2011, when the IAAF eliminated gender verification testing, replacing it with a test for higher than typical testosterone levels for a female athlete which would lead to present a significant competitive advantage. But, in 2015, the court of arbitration for sport suspended that policy, ruling that it lacked sufficient scientific backing and was therefore unjustifiably discriminatory. So, here we are in Rio with Semenya eligible to compete, and about to take the track for her opening round in the 800m.”

Masback on Semenya: “It’s a story that’s been playing out over the last seven years, I think everybody can agree with one thing – it’s been unfair to Caster Semenya. It’s been public when it should have been private, it’s been bungled by all of the relevant organizations. Scientists haven’t yet come to a consensus about what’s fair and what’s not fair. There’s total confusion about what the rules are, or should be. I think, a lot of her competitors feel it’s unfair to them, they don’t know where things stand. In the midst of this, we’ll have an Olympic 800m, and we’ll hope for more clarity by the next Olympics. Let’s appreciate Caster Semenya for the athlete that she is, and let’s go from there.”

Hammond: “She was so young when the controversy began. You have to feel sympathy for her, because she’s done nothing wrong.”

Analyst Tim Hutchings (NBCSN) on Semenya: “Remember, too, is that Semenya is absolutely blameless.  She has the backing of just about every athlete in the track and field program, who have followed her story these last few years. She is in fabulous form through this year. She is the world number one. Many feel she comes here as an outstandingly strong favorite.”

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INDOOR VOLLEYBALL – NBC

Analyst Kevin Barnett on Team USA’s Taylor Sander, as the U.S. defeated Poland 3 sets to 0 to advance to the semifinals: “He’s had his ups and downs, but one thing throughout that we’ve seen is that when the U.S. needs a kill, when they need him, he is there and (Micah) Christenson trusts him.”

Barnett on how the U.S. men’s volleyball team overcame a tough start in Rio: “They’ve done it with tough serving and just pure grit and determination. (Coach) John Speraw gets big credit for what the U.S. has done here… Micah Christenson’s leadership and playmaking ability have been key.”

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SOCCER – NBCSN

Play-by-play commentator Steve Cangialosi at the conclusion of Brazil’s 6-0 victory over Honduras, as Neymar makes a penalty shot: “The captain steps up and scores! And with a six-pack of strikes in the semi-final, Brazil is 90 minutes away from Olympic gold.”

Analyst Kyle Martino on the potential for Brazil to play Germany in the gold medal final at Maracanã: “There are many amazing stadiums in the world, but this is one of the greats. This is a cathedral, a holy ground, and if it’s a great ballroom, then that field is its dance floor, and boy, has this team been enjoying it. We’ve seen samba, we’ve seen beauty, we’ve seen a lot of joy. I think the opportunity, on the very field they suffered their most embarrassing loss ever, to redo things against Germany… you have to think everyone’s rooting for that in this community.”

Steve Cangialosi following Gabriel Jesus’ goal, Brazil’s third in the first half: “And the samba party is on at Rio de Janeiro! They’ve got one foot in the door, it seems, to the gold medal game.”

Steve Cangialosi on what’s at stake for Brazil: “The one team in this tournament that any result other than Olympic gold would be defined as failure. It’s a pressure that only a special group can embrace. This Brazil team feels it is special.”

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WATER POLO – NBC

Analyst Julie Swail on the U.S. women’s water polo team as they defeated Hungary in the semifinal match 14-10: “The U.S. women’s team is so deep, that’s really what sets them apart. They can score from so many different players and that’s what makes it difficult to defend a team, if you can’t tell who is going to shoot.”

Reporter Pierre McGuire on Team USA’s Courtney Mathewson: “Courtney Mathewson is just a winner. Four national championships at UCLA, a gold medal in London: she knows how to elevate at key times. When the American women were down, the veteran players had to step up and they have.”

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GOLF – GOLF CHANNEL

Analyst Annika Sorenstam on Ariya Jutanugarn (6-under, Leader – Thailand): “She’d been knocking on the door a few times and it’s amazing what that one win will do to give you the confidence to go on and be in contention in a lot of [tournaments].

Analyst Curt Byrum on Jutanugarn: “Nobody has had a better breakout year than her… It’s amazing how she’s done all that winning in the last few months and how that confidence continues to snowball. You can just feel the confidence that she has out there.”

On-Course Reporter Kay Cockerill on Jutanugarn: “What a difference a year makes. In the middle of the summer last year she was in the middle of missing 10 cuts in a row and her confidence was at rock bottom. She couldn’t keep a driver on the planet. And with the change of coaches to Gary Gilchrist and working with Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, she has become the great golfer that [she is]. So much talent.”

Analyst Karen Stupples on Inbee Park (5-under, T-2nd – Korea) competing in the field this week despite being sidelined for much of 2016 due to a thumb injury: “She received a lot of flak from the press in Korea questioning her playing this week. They were almost suggesting that somebody else should be playing in her place to give Korea a better chance of a medal because they don’t believe that she’s in form and they don’t believe that her thumb is healthy.”

Stupples on women’s Golf returning as an Olympic sport for the first time in 116 years: “Golf being in the Olympics is recognition for these athletes that what they’re doing matters within the sporting world in their country. There are many countries and places where [golf] is just simply overlooked. And when you’re playing golf in that country it’s very easy to think you’ve just been forgotten about.”

Analyst Annika Sorenstam: “I think the benefit that the women have is they’ve been watching the men and they really saw the importance of finishing first, second or third. I don’t think anybody has ever been as happy as Matt Kuchar to finish third, for a medal compared to finishing third in a normal golf tournament. And again, the pressure of standing on the first tee hearing your name and representing your country. There are so many elements we haven’t experienced before that you’re realizing when you show up here.”

Stupples: “Those dreams that young girls have about competing in the Olympics, gymnastics and other events is because they’ve seen it on TV. You’re going to have girls watching Olympic golf now being able to dream that dream.”

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MEN’S BASKETBALL – USA NETWORK

Analyst Fran Fraschilla on the rivalry between France and Spain: “Incredible familiarity…There’s certainly not hatred involved, but this has become a very bitter rivalry in Europe. For many years, the French felt that the Spanish basketball program looked down on them.” Note: Spain defeated France 92-67 in the Men’s Basketball quarterfinals

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FIELD HOCKEY – MSNBC

Analyst AJ Mleczko on the winning goal from Holland’s Ellen Hoog over Germany: “She gets it done! Didn’t get it done in the first round and now made no mistake of it… You can see the relief on their faces, there was so much stress early on and now just thrill.”

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.

-RIO 2016-