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The Week In Sports: #LochteGate; Usain Bolt Does It Again


Anything going on in sports?


SIMON: One last bolt of lightning at the Olympics last night. The U.S. women's relay team won, too, and what have we missed while we talk about Ryan Lochte? NPR's Tom Goldman is in Rio. Tom, thanks for being with us.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Scott, I've been looking forward to this for a long time, like a day at least.

SIMON: Yeah, exactly, since we we spoke yesterday. You know, our children, Tom, will tell their grandchildren that they saw the greatest sprinter of all time when they saw Usain Bolt.

GOLDMAN: Yeah, and so did I (laughter) all nine times.

SIMON: I saw him on TV.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter) In your PJs, I understand.

SIMON: Well, a couple of them, yes, but go ahead, OK (laughter).

GOLDMAN: I wish I had been in my PJs. Those races were run so late and last night or this morning both finally...

SIMON: It's Brazil. You can wear your PJs anywhere, but go ahead, yeah.

GOLDMAN: Bolt finally came in at 1 a.m., but we wait. We wait because he's the greatest sprinter, as you say, and he is now tied - Paavo Nurmi and Carl Lewis - for the most career golds for a track and field athlete with nine - fantastic. And, you know, the ninth last night was maybe emblematic of what he's done almost every time we've seen him run - kind of a slow start to the final 100. You know, slow's a relative term there. He was shoulder to shoulder with that final runner for Japan. Japan surprisingly took silver in the relay. And there was Bolt starting to unwind his huge frame in the first steps after getting the baton, and then, Scott, poof. He was gone, and won, you know, by a couple of strides, as you saw - amazing. And, you know, that kind of - the way he winds up and unwinds his frame, it's why his favorite event is the 200 because he's got time to unwind and why his coach, he says, salivates at the idea of Bolt doing the 400 because with those strides and the speed of strides, the coach believes he'd destroy the record books there, too. So - but he's gone. He's done with the Olympics, and we will never see someone like him again.

SIMON: The most exciting athlete I think either of us have seen. And, by the way, U.S. women's relay team was simply great last night, too.

GOLDMAN: Fantastic, yeah, after all they went through with the rerun and everything, yeah.

SIMON: Yeah. I almost feel a little bad talking about Ryan Lochte, but his pals are beginning to dish a little now about what happened at that gas station. What's the latest?

GOLDMAN: Yeah, you know, it's so fluid. It's this awful story that just keeps changing, and this morning, it even changed a little bit more. There's now - there's a witness to this incident at a gas station where, you know, Lochte said that guns were pointed and so on. And now this witness, who apparently translated for the swimmers who don't speak Portuguese and the security guards translated for them - witness says no guns were drawn. And we're also getting reports that the payment made by one of the swimmers, Jimmy Feigen - $11,000 to a charity, which basically let him leave the country. Now, authorities are saying that's not enough. They want more money, but the swimmers are gone. So what can they do? Yeah, it's cuckoo, and it's a story that's consumed us all way too long.

SIMON: Yeah. And in the meantime, people were race walking and archers and field hockey and synchronized gymnastics.

GOLDMAN: (Laughter).

SIMON: This is, like, the only time every four years we get to see these sports, speaking for myself.

GOLDMAN: Absolutely - well, me too. And, you know, the Summer Games are so huge. You're always missing something. And I did a little research, really, and found that while I was at high-profile events like swimming and track and field, I was missing Great Britain's Jason Kenny winning three goals in track cycling. And I was - I was missing Japanese judo athletes winning 12 medals, more than any country. And I missed 19-year-old Serghei Tarnovschi of Moldova, Scott, winning a bronze in the canoe racing, bringing home that country's only Olympic medal. I'm sure he's a hero in Moldova, but I missed it. The Summer Olympics are all about missing something, and - but there are 10,000 athletes each with an amazing story.

SIMON: And last, what do you think other cities can learn from Rio about the costs and benefits of hosting the Olympic Games?

GOLDMAN: I don't know what they can learn at this point. We know what questions we can ask. One big question - what mechanisms are in place, if they exist at all, to deal with what Olympic organizers dealt with here - a vibrant, economically solid country in 2009 when they won the games but then tanked in 2014. What do you do when something like that happens?

SIMON: NPR's Tom Goldman from Rio. Thanks so much for being with us. Talk to you when you're back here.

GOLDMAN: Been a pleasure.

SIMON: And tomorrow on Weekend Edition Sunday, a story on two Russian whistleblowers who live in a secret location after they provided details on Russia's alleged state-run doping program. You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.