NBC Announces Record 178 Commentators for Tokyo Olympics Coverage

NBCUniversal has announced it will have a record 178 commentators involved in the media conglomerate’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. NBC says it will be providing roughly 7,000 hours of coverage across each of its networks and platforms, which include NBC, USA Network, CNBC, NBCSN, GOLF Channel, Peacock, Olympic Channel, Telemundo, Universo, the NBC Sports app, and NBCOlympics.com.

The NBC commentating crew also holds a huge number of former Olympians, who have combined to win 76 Olympic medals, 41 of which were Gold. Outside of those who will be covering swimming, NBC’s coverage will include Olympic legends such as Sanya Richards-Ross, Apolo Ohno and Nastia Liukin.

The NBC crew for swimming is as follows:

Of the 6 correspondents assigned to swimming in Tokyo, 3 are former Olympic swimmers. Amy Van Dyken, Rowdy Gaines, and Elizabeth Beisel combined for 11 Olympic medals over their careers, 9 of which were Gold. Van Dyken became the first American woman to win 4 Gold medals at a single Olympics in 1996, taking the women’s 50 free, 100 free, 4×100 free relay, and 4×100 medley relay. Gaines was also a sprinter, taking Gold in the men’s 100 free in 1984, as well as Golds in the 4×100 free relay and 4×100 medley relay. Beisel picked up Silver in the women’s 400 IM in 2012, and Bronze in the 200 backstroke.

Rowdy Gaines will be in the booth alongside Dan Hicks for a 7th time at the Olympic Games. The duo first came together at the 1996 Games in Altanta. Hicks will be giving the play-by-play, while Gaines provides analysis. Michele Tafoya, of NBC’s Sunday Night Football fame, is working her 5th Olympics, and will be on deck at the pool for the 2nd time.

Elizabeth Beisel and Patrick Kinas, who teamed up to call the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave I meet in early June, are set to assist in the swimming coverage, along with Amy Van Dyken. Beisel, who acted as the analyst at the Wave I meet, will be on-site in Tokyo for analysis, while Kinas and Van Dyken will be operating remotely from NBC studios in the U.S.

Mike Tirico, who gave the play-by-play at the U.S. Olympic Trials Wave II meet, alongside Gaines, will be resuming his role as the NBC Olympics primetime host, which he did in 2016 as well. Tirico took Dan Hicks‘ place at U.S. Trials, since Hicks was covering the U.S. Open for NBC at the time.

OPEN WATER SWIMMING:

Rowdy Gaines will also be taking the role of analyst for open water swimming, where he will be alongside Mary Carillo. Carillo is a former professional tennis player, and has served in a commentary role for NBC for over 2 decades. Typically providing tennis coverage at the Olympics, this will be Carillo’s first venture into Olympic open water swimming.

DIVING:

  • Ted Robinson, Play-by-Play
  • Cynthia Potter, Analyst
  • Kelli Stavast, Reporter

Handling the diving coverage will be Ted Robinson on play-by-play. This will mark Robinson’s 12th Olympics with NBC. 3-time Olympian Cynthia Potter will be joining Robinson to provide analysis, while Kelli Stavast will be on deck reporting for her 2nd time.

WATER POLO:

  • Paul Burmeister, Play-by-Play
  • Julie Swail, Analyst
  • Tony Azevedo, Analyst

Paul Burmeister will be handling the play-by-play for water polo in Tokyo. Burmeister has spent the majority of his commentary career focused on the NFL, as well as professional lacrosse, college basketball, and the Tour de France. He will be joined by Julie Swail, another former Olympian. Swail, incredibly, won Silver on the US water polo team in 2000, then switched to triathlons in 2002. She would go on to compete in the triathlon at the 2008 Olympics.

Joining the pair will be water polo legend Tony Azevedo, who is a 5-time Olympian in water polo, and a 2008 Silver medalist. Azevedo ranks 4th on the all-time Olympic scoring list for water polo, with a total of 61 goals across his 5 appearances.

ARTISTIC SWIMMING:

  • Heather Olson, Analyst

Former Team USA Artistic Swimming Olympian Heather Olson will be holding down the artistic swimming coverage in Tokyo. Olson was a member of the 1996 US artistic team, which went on to win Gold. She has covered the sport for NBC during the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympics as well.

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Stewie
2 months ago

Exhibit A of why I’ll be using a VPN to watch swimming this summer. #nopricetoohighformysanity #bbc #cbc #eurosport

Not Tapered 🏊
Reply to  Stewie
2 months ago

Your sanity hinges on swimming commentary?

Emg1986
Reply to  Not Tapered 🏊
2 months ago

This is a website dedicated to swimming, so it is possible.

Virtus
2 months ago

Get Phelps in there, IMers are the pinnacle of the sport as far as knowledge goes

Ghost
Reply to  Virtus
2 months ago

If Phelps was on, Rowdy would man crush and drool the entire time.

SwimFam
2 months ago

Can Michelle Tafoya not…?

Her poolside interviews at trials were terrible. Beisel was underutilized and should have taken her spot.

Wave 1.5 Qualifier
Reply to  SwimFam
2 months ago

Ranking:
— Deity: Hicks
— Yes, please: Beisel, VanDyken
— Who?: Kinas
— Meh: Tafoya
— No: Ambrose

SCCOACH
Reply to  Wave 1.5 Qualifier
2 months ago

I fixed your post

No: Rowdy
No: Rowdy
No: Rowdy
No: Rowdy
No: Rowdy

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  SwimFam
2 months ago

Lewis Johnson fills the same role in track and field and makes Tafoya look awful. Johnson will watch the race, listen to the commentary, and make astute observations during the questioning. Tafoya is bewildered if the result didn’t go as expected. If she had been forced to ask 10 more questions of Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White after the 200 backstroke, at least 8 of them would have focused on Regan Smith. The other two would have been, “What were you thinking?” and “Would you ever have imagined this?”

SwimOnTheBottom
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

Lewis Johnson was a pretty decent runner in his own right. 8th in NCAA’s in the 800 back in the day with a time of 1:47.00. I think that helps him be a more astute Q/A guy than Tafoya, at least in track & field.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
Reply to  SwimFam
2 months ago

The US needs to find its Gianna Rooney

He said what?
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
2 months ago

YES!!!!!!!

Joel
2 months ago

Analyst. Lol

Drew Dweetzer
2 months ago

CORRECTION
“Amy Van Dyken was the first woman to win four golds in the Olympics in 1996”

Kornelia Ender (DDR) won 4 golds in 1976.
Kristin Otto (DDR) won 6 golds in 1988.

Last edited 2 months ago by Drew Dweetzer
Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

I have no idea why the diving summary focused on Ted Robinson. Who cares about Ted Robinson? Cynthia Potter is one of the great specialized sport commentators of all time and is nearing the end of her career. We should applaud and savor her while we can

YeeterMcSkeeter
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

I’m my experience dive fans feel the same way about Cynthia Potter as swim fans feel about Rowdy

MIKE IN DALLAS
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

absolutely spot on!

Dover
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
2 months ago

I absolutely can’t stand Potter’s commentary and I know I’m not alone on that.

Ger
2 months ago

I think I need to see an analyst.

kevin
2 months ago

Dont know why you think picking ex athletes assures good comentary because apart from a few it doesnt

Dudeman
Reply to  kevin
2 months ago

I think the idea is that they’ll have a more detailed understanding of the sport and the athletes that participate while also being able to explain more nuanced aspects, kinda like what Beisel can offer or the Australian commentator (Nicole Livingston I believe?). Unfortunately on the US side that leads to talks of reaction time and breathing direction which is annoying for everyone involved.

Stewie
Reply to  Dudeman
2 months ago

“I was talking with [coach’s name], the legendary coach of [college program], and he told me that [irrelevant nonsense, unrelated to race underway]”.

It’s like MadLibs or a college drinking game….

Dudeman
Reply to  Stewie
2 months ago

That’s great and all but what about their parents!? are their parents good people!?

Of course they are, could you imagine Rowdy mentioning someone’s parents and then talking about how they’re just awful people?

Erik
Reply to  Stewie
2 months ago

“[athletes name] shouldn’t focus on the WR line”… [athlete’s name] IS BREATHING TO THE RIGHT!!!”…the list continues.

He said what?
Reply to  Dudeman
2 months ago

Nicole is the gold standard.

Jamie5678
Reply to  Dudeman
2 months ago

I think it’s more likely that they’re hoping for name recognition which is perhaps why Rowdy Gaines’s days might be numbered. The problem with ex-swimmers and especially recent ex-swimmers is that it can be a bit chummy and everyone’s swim is ‘great’. I felt this was a problem with Amazon’s coverage of especially the prelims of the Australian trials – for me at least.

I always think it would be good to have a coach involved. And ideally one who is slightly mad.