NBC Olympic primetime host Bob Costas discussed Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps and what he thinks will be the biggest story of the Rio Olympics in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday.
“In terms of competition, if you look at it not from an American viewpoint, I think what Usain Bolt has a chance to do might be greater this time around than what Michael Phelps has a chance to do,” Costas said in an interview from Rio.
Bolt hopes to sweep the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay for a third straight Olympics to finish his career with nine gold medals.
Phelps, already owner of a record 22 Olympic medals and 18 golds, seeks his fifth and final Olympic berth. Phelps will not attempt to swim eight events, as he did in 2004 or 2008. Maybe not even seven, as he did in 2012.
But Phelps was the fastest man in the world in the 100m and 200m butterfly and the 200m individual medley in 2015, setting him up well.
“In terms of a signature achievement, if Bolt pulls that off, I think that will be greater for his legacy than what Phelps might be able to do here in Rio, which is add to his already record haul of 22 medals,” Costas said. “But I don’t think that would be as distinctive to him as what Bolt is trying to do.”
Costas, 64, will host primetime at a record-extending 11th Olympics in August and said he will decide on a “case-by-case basis” how many more Games he does.
What will it depend on?
“How much I enjoy my colleagues, how much I respect what they do, the good feeling you get from carrying the ball for them when you’re the host in primetime,” he said. “You don’t want to overstay you’re welcome. Maybe to some people I already have [laughs], but I’d like to leave when it’s my decision, rather than have someone wrap their arm around my shoulder and say, hey, you know, Bob, here’s a suggestion for you.”