NEW YORK (AP) — Sometimes experience as an Olympian can give an announcer special insight — even the most painful kind.
NBC's Kevin Barnett knew what members of the U.S. women's volleyball were feeling Saturday when they had to rebound from a painful loss in the semifinals to play in a bronze medal match two days later. There's no time to wallow in self-pity. You need to recover energy and focus.
Barnett admitted he had a hard time doing that in 2004 as a member of the U.S. men's volleyball team competing in Athens. His team returned home on a two-match losing streak with a fourth-place finish.
The American women rallied for coach Karch Kiraly to beat the Netherlands and secure a medal.
"Karch Kiraly (was) saying, 'We love tough,'" Barnett said. "No tougher situation than to lose what was your dream of Olympic gold and to come back and rally for a bronze."
BOXING: Similarly, there's no time to waste in three-round Olympic boxing matches, and that occasionally left NBC's B.J. Flores sounding breathless in his call of the gold medal bantamweight fight between Cuban Robeisy Ramirez and American Shakur Stevenson. At first, Flores seemed to be working with more urgency than Stevenson, and he encouraged the 19-year-old American to not to fight defensively because he'd lose the chance to score points and become the first male boxer from the United States to win gold since 2004. The fight, won by Ramirez on a split decision, was so close that Flores wisely laid out the facts and resisted a prediction on how the judges would rule.
PERFECTION: The U.S. women's basketball team had a game on their hands — for a quarter. Then they methodically routed Spain for a gold medal, continuing a 49-game winning streak that began with a bronze medal victory in 1992. That left NBC's Marc Zumoff and Ann Meyers Drysdale with time to kill, which they're accustomed to doing in U.S. games. "It'll be interesting to see if they can score 100 points," Drysdale mused with about four minutes to go. A Brianna Stewart three-pointer did the trick to make the final 101-72.
TRIATHLON: Analyst Julie Swail was adroit with her insights on the women's triathlon, spotting the gamesmanship between American Gwen Jorgensen and Nicola Spirig of Switzerland as they ran together, neither wanting the more taxing task of running in front. Swait correctly predicted when Jorgensen would make a move to put the race out of reach. Colleague Al Trautwig wondered what would happen with two British racers, running side by side in third and fourth place, when the bronze medal was on the line. "They're teammates, they're best friends, they're roommates," Swail said. "But when it comes down to the run, it's everyone for themselves." That's exactly what happened.
QUOTE: "The absolute emotional high point of these Olympic games for Brazil." —NBC's Bob Costas describing the host country's men's soccer team winning the gold medal in a shootout over Germany.
STUNNED INTERVIEW: American runner Paul Chelimo seemed to be expecting a congratulatory interview with NBC Lewis Johnson about winning the silver medal in the 5,000 meter run, and he looked stunned when Johnson informed him he'd been disqualified. He watched tape where he bumped into another runner, but Chelimo said it was because his effort to move had been blocked. Chelimo was ultimately reinstated.
CLOSING NIGHT: NBC announced that Mike Tirico, Mary Carillo and Ryan Seacrest will host the Rio de Janeiro closing ceremony on Sunday night. Like the opening ceremony, it will be shown on tape delay.
RATINGS: NBC's Friday night coverage, featuring dueling relays races between American and Jamaican runners, reached 20 million viewers, the Nielsen company said. With streaming and cable coverage added in, the network reached 21.1 million in the time slot. Viewership for the corresponding night in London 2012 was 22.5 million.