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Rio 2016 opening ceremony notes & quotes


Sat, Aug 6th 2016 09:40 am
NBC Rio Olympics logo
NBC Rio Olympics logo

Following are highlights from NBC's primetime coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Friday, Aug. 5:

The Games of the XXXI Olympiad officially began with the opening ceremony from Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bob Costas, NBC's primetime Olympics host, opened the show from NBC's studio in the International Broadcast Center in Rio, which was followed by a short film narrated by Emmy Award-nominee Giancarlo Esposito (click here for more information).

Matt LauerMeredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb hosted NBC's coverage from Maracanã, while Michele Tafoya and Ros Gold-Onwude interviewed athletes at the stadium.

In addition, NBC Olympics correspondent David Feherty joined Costas to discuss golf's return to the Games after a 112-year absence, and aired a portion of his interview with President Barack Obama. The extended interview will run on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" tomorrow morning and will be available via NBCOlympics.com and GolfChannel.com.

Opening ceremony co-host and "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer: "It is a beautiful night here in Rio de Janeiro and you're looking down at something special. Maracanã - one of the most iconic sports stadiums anywhere in the world. Here in Brazil they call it simply, 'the temple of football.' This is where the legendary Pele scored his 1,000th career goal. And tonight, it is the venue for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Games."

President Barack Obama to David Feherty on the importance of the Olympics: "I think the Olympic ideal, of every country sending its best to compete in a spirit of goodwill - it's not going to end war; it's not going to eliminate poverty or some of the tragedies that we see every day; but it builds a sense of common humanity, a sense of empathy. One of the great things about the Olympics and Olympic coverage is the way they do backstories of the athletes. So now suddenly, you see some young woman in South Africa and what she's had to go through in order to train and compete at this level, or some Lithuanian athlete ... and it transports you into another place. I suspect that particularly for Americans who, sometimes, because we're such a big country, don't always feel as if, unless there's bad news out there, that we need to know much about anyplace else - it's a nice introduction to the world. And I think that kind of empathy and that sense of healthy competition can, in fact, carry over beyond the Olympics."

American golfer Rickie Fowler on playing in the Olympics: "I grew up watching the Olympics every four years. ... It was never a dream that I was able to have. I always thought it was really cool that it was the pinnacle of everyone's sport, that this is what they work for, to be here, and to watch them compete was amazing. To hear a few years back that golf was going to be back in the Olympics. ... I mean, it was kind of a dream come true that I wasn't able to dream about before. ... I didn't want to miss out on it."

Opening ceremony co-host and NBC News special correspondent Meredith Vieira as the German team entered the stadium: "The last time Germany was here in Brazil for a major event was the World Cup two years ago. That semifinal game became notorious here - the Germans crushed the home team 7-1 on the way to the title. There's a story going around Rio, a family-owned German company built the cycling venue here and, during its construction, German workers are said to have inscribed 7-1 in wet cement. Local workers are said to have spotted it and wiped it out."

Lauer on the Parade of Nations: "Do you think it would be safe to say that, right now, on the floor of this stadium, that it is the selfie capital of the universe?"

Lauer as the U.S. team entered the stadium: "Michael Phelps, the five-time Olympian, 22 Olympic medals, 18 of those gold - he's been given the honor of carrying the flag of his country by his fellow teammates. He says, 'It was mind-blowing.' Five hundred and fifty-four athletes for Team USA and, for the first time since 2004, they have the largest delegation of any nation."

Vieira as the Russian athletes entered the stadium: "There's a lot of controversy surrounding the Russian team and those who aren't here because of that doping scandal. ... (It) wasn't even clear that they were going to be able to compete here, after being engulfed in one of the biggest doping scandals in history. The fact is, the perennial Olympic power comes to Rio as a truly diminished group. Suspensions widespread, almost the entire track and field team, the entire weightlifting team has been banned, and many others across the wide range of sports are not here tonight."

Opening ceremony co-host and "Today" show's Hoda Kotb: "If you want to get into a good discussion or argument at a cocktail party, ask if the entire Russian team should have been banned, because people stand squarely on either side."

Lauer: "I think we should mention, if you're wondering what the Russian response to all of this has been, Alexander Zhukov, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee, called the ban, 'legally indefensible.' "

Kotb as the Brazilian team entered the stadium: "In Brazil, fun is contagious, joy is contagious, and you can see it playing out watching their athletes walk in."

Lauer: "The Olympic Rings have made their way to South America for the first time in history with a Rio flair."

Lauer: "The Games are underway after an opening ceremony to remember."

Saturday's coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad is highlighted by:

•NBC's primetime presentation, which begins at 8 p.m. ET/PT, featuring Kerri Walsh Jennings and new partner April Ross of the U.S. making their Olympic beach volleyball debut against Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Nicole Laird of Australia. Coverage also features the men's gymnastics team competition, followed by gold medal finals in swimming; and

•Men's beach volleyball and women's soccer on NBCSN, as the top-ranked U.S. women's soccer team takes on France at 4 p.m., followed by men's basketball, when Kevin Durant and the U.S. face China in preliminary action at 6 p.m.

NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will live stream all events to authenticated pay-TV subscribers. Click here for listings for Saturday and Sunday.

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