Bob Costas picks biggest Olympic storyline leading into Rio (video)

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NBC Olympic primetime host Bob Costas discussed Usain BoltMichael 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.”

MORE: 100 Team USA athletes to watch on road to Rio

Salwa Eid Naser, world 400m champion, provisionally banned

Salwa Eid Naser
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Salwa Eid Naser, the world 400m champion of Bahrain, was provisionally suspended for missing three drug tests in a 12-month span.

“I’ve never been a cheat. I will never be,” Naser, 22, said in an Instagram live video. “I only missed three drug tests, which is normal. It happens. It can happen to anybody. I don’t want people to get confused in all this because I would never cheat.”

Naser said “the missed tests” came before last autumn’s world championships, where she ran the third-fastest time in history (48.14 seconds) and the fastest in 34 years.

“This year I have not been drug tested,” she said. “We are still talking about the ones of last season before the world championships.”

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which handles doping cases for track and field, did not announce whether Naser’s gold medal could be stripped.

“Hopefully, it’ll get resolved because I don’t really like the image, but it has happened,” she said. “It’s going to be fine. It’s very hard to have this little stain on my name.”

Naser, the 2017 World silver medalist, upset Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas for the world title in Doha on Oct. 3.

The only women who have run faster than Naser, who was born Ebelechukwu Agbapuonwu in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother who sprinted and a Bahraini father, were dubious — East German Marita Koch (47.60) and Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvilova (47.99).

“I would never take performance-enhancing drugs,” Naser said. “I believe in talent, and I know I have the talent.”

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When Laurie Hernandez winked at the Olympics

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Blink, and you may have missed one of the social-media-sensation moments of the Rio Olympics.

Laurie Hernandez, then 16, was the youngest woman on the U.S. Olympic team across all sports. She was about to start arguably the most important floor exercise routine of her life.

So, she winked.

“The amazing thing about the Olympics is that you feel so many different emotions in the span of a few days, and they are all intense,” she wrote in her 2017 book, “I Got This,” a nod to what she told herself before her balance beam routine earlier that night. “So it was nice to have at least one totally playful moment.”

The U.S., on its fourth and final rotation, already had the team gold all but locked up. Knowing she was nervous, Hernandez’s teammates confirmed to her that they were a few points ahead.

Then Hernandez heard the beep, and it was time to go. She was in the view of an out-of-bounds judge at the Rio Olympic Arena.

“Well, I looked straight at her and suddenly felt this surge of confidence to wink,” she wrote. “Later, a woman came up to me while I was watching Simone [Biles] and Aly [Raisman] compete in their all-around finals and she said, ‘Wow, I just want you to know that when you winked at the judge, it really worked.’ I didn’t know how to respond, so I just said, ‘Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say.’ That’s when she told me she was the out-of-bounds judge! All I could say was ‘Oh my goodness.'”

Hernandez, a New Jersey native, finished the Olympics with a team gold and balance beam silver.

She took more than two years off before making a comeback in earnest last year, announcing she planned to return to competition this spring under new coaches in California. Now that’s on hold given the coronavirus pandemic, which pushed the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.

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