The United States’ thrilling comeback for the gold medal in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay Sunday night likely will go down as one of the greatest Olympic moments ever. It certainly was for NBC broadcasters Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines who called the race. They discussed the dramatic race in a conference call Monday from Beijing.
HICKS ON CALLING THE RELAY: “Without a doubt, it’s the great Olympic moment I’ve ever experienced or called, head and shoulder above anything, and we have done some pretty good things. It’s just one of those rare moments that you get in this business to be a part of something like that, and the fact that it now has a chance to continue, one of the greatest Olympic stories ever in Michael Phelps, just makes it an even bigger moment.
“It was something out of a Hollywood script. It had everything. It had the guys that did the trash talking in the French, it had the 32-year-old swimmer in Jason Lezak who has not had successful Olympic swims in the past trying to catch the world record holder in the 100m, and doing it when it looked like he had no chance at all. It was a crazy, crazy moment. I know Rowdy, in his eyes, agrees with me that it was simply the greatest Olympic relay race he has ever seen.”
HICKS ON CALLING THE RACE: “That race is why we get into the business of sports broadcasting. It was just absolute excitement, shock, and the utmost of wattage. It was just so unexpected. It was so clear that (Alain) Bernard was going to win this race and in those last meters, it was like a switch was flipped and all of a sudden Lezak pulled it out. I think it has been clear throughout the Games that we are certainly not rooting for the Americans. The excitement that we had was just simply about an unbelievable piece of drama in the pool.”
HICKS COMPARING PHELPS TO TIGER WOODS: “He is right there with Tiger Woods. I called Michael Phelps ‘Tiger Woods in a Speedo’ the other night. There are just so many uncanny ways that Phelps reminds me of Tiger, it’s just scary. They just remind me of each other so much. If Tiger is over a putt and he has to make it, I watched him at the U.S. Open and he made it. When Phelps needs to have some sort of magical touch to win a gold medal and get it done, he does the same thing. It is really kind of eerie, how much those two guys remind me of each other.”
GAINES ON THE RACE: “It was certainly the greatest Olympic relay race I have ever seen. I have been trying to think about another race that I got more excited about and I can’t think of one.”