Tafoya makes swimming debut in fourth Olympic assignment; Hicks, Gaines team up for sixth consecutive Summer Olympics
NBC's "Sunday Night Football" sideline reporter and multiple Emmy Award-winner Michele Tafoya joins longtime NBC golf commentator Dan Hicks and three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines to call swimming for NBC Olympics in Rio. NBCUniversal's coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad begins from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday, Aug. 5.
Working her fourth Olympics, Tafoya makes her debut at the swimming competition. Hicks works alongside Gaines for the sixth consecutive Olympics.
"We are excited to have Michele move from the sideline to poolside at the Olympics to join Dan and Rowdy for what is always one of the most anticipated competitions of the Games," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC Olympics.
"When I think of the Olympics I instantly think of all the great stories swimming has delivered over the years — from Mark Spitz to Janet Evans to Michael Phelps," Tafoya said. "And it looks like there will be some great drama in Rio, as well. I'm really excited to cover the competition with the fantastic Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines. What an assignment!"
The most successful nation in Olympic swimming history, the U.S. will have a competitive field of swimmers vying for Olympic team spots at trials. Already the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, Michael Phelps will look to add to his medal haul in Rio, where he is aiming to become the first U.S. male swimmer to compete at five Games, while 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte could make his fourth Olympic appearance this summer. Headlining the women's side are five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who is also the reigning world champion in the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter freestyles.
A two-time Sports Emmy-winner, this fall Tafoya will begin her sixth season working the sidelines for "SNF," America's No. 1 primetime show. Previously for NBC Olympics, Tafoya served as a sports desk reporter during the 2012 London Olympics, and handled rhythmic gymnastics and softball play-by-play at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She also hosted late night for CBS' coverage of the 1998 Nagano Games.
Hicks is in his 15th season as host of NBC's Emmy-winning golf coverage. In Rio, he will work his 10th Olympics, dating back to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. In addition to swimming, Hicks called alpine skiing (2014 Sochi Olympics), speed skating (2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Torino and 2010 Vancouver), and the closing ceremony at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
The most experienced television analyst in the sport, Gaines has been poolside for NBC for seven consecutive Olympic swimming competitions (since the 1992 Barcelona Games). As a competitor, he set world records in the 100-meter freestyle, the 200-meter freestyle and capped off his career by winning three gold medals for the U.S. at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1984, he set an Olympic record in the 100-meter freestyle, and helped establish a world record by anchoring the 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay team. He won his third Olympic gold medal as the freestyle anchor of the 4-by-100-meter medley relay, which also set Olympic and world records.
The Olympics begin Friday, Aug. 5.