News

Matt, Savannah, Al, USA TODAY pick athletes, events to watch this weekend

As we continue to cheer on Team USA at the Rio Olympics, TODAY's Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker and Nancy Armour, a columnist for USA TODAY Sports, are partnering to give you a quick guide to some of the athletes and events to watch this weekend.

Matt Lauer can't wait to see the track and field events and beach volleyball.

Watch on NBCOlympics.com: Olympians to watch this weekend in Rio

Track and field

Track and field gets underway this weekend, and it’s the first chance to see if Usain Bolt can solidify his position as, what many people are saying, the greatest sprinter of all time. Can he repeat his feat from London?

RELATED: Michael Johnson revisits Olympic glory, says he could've beaten Usain Bolt in his prime

Beach volleyball

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are taking on the world and getting further into the women’s beach volleyball tournament. Is it really possible that Kerri Walsh Jennings can win four golds in a row? I think that will be one of the greatest feats we’ve ever seen.

Closed Captioning
apply | reset x
font
size
T
T
T
T
color

Volleyball stars Walsh-Jennings, Ross look to Rio: 'We love beating Brazil'

Play Video - 4:39

Volleyball stars Walsh-Jennings, Ross look to Rio: 'We love beating Brazil'

Play Video - 4:39

WATCH: Kerri Walsh Jennings, Olympic gold medalist, reveals her secrets to success

Al Roker is looking forward to Michael Phelps. Wouldn’t it be great for him to win another gold? You know, since he’s got so few now!

Savannah Guthrie's favorite Olympic event is tennis.

Tennis

The gold medal matches are this weekend for the men’s and women’s singles. We’ve already had some shockers with Novak Djokovic out in the early round. Serena Williams lost, which almost never happens. But there are still some really great players in the draw, and I’m hoping to see some marquee names like Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray or Madison Keys from the U.S., make it to the finals.

Closed Captioning
apply | reset x
font
size
T
T
T
T
color

Savannah and Rafael Nadal face off on tennis court

Play Video - 3:49

Savannah and Rafael Nadal face off on tennis court

Play Video - 3:49

There is something very special when these players are playing for their countries. They really get into it, and you feel like their country’s pride is on the line. It adds an extra element of excitement and momentousness to the matches when they're not just playing for themselves, but they’re playing for everyone who is rooting for them at home.

RELATED: Match, set: Matt and Savannah play doubles with tennis legends

I’ll be watching no matter who is playing because I never miss professional tennis if I can help it.

USA TODAY

Here's what USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour is looking forward to watching.

Michael Phelps

Get ready to say goodbye to the greatest Olympian there is and probably ever will be. Michael Phelps swims his last two races at the Olympics this weekend, the 100-meter butterfly tonight and the medley relay tomorrow.

Closed Captioning
apply | reset x
font
size
T
T
T
T
color

Michael Phelps on rehab, recovery and his hopes for an Olympic comeback

Play Video - 6:28

Michael Phelps on rehab, recovery and his hopes for an Olympic comeback

Play Video - 6:28

WATCH: The story behind Michael Phelps's torn swim cap

We’ve watched Phelps grow up at the Olympics, going from a quiet, slightly awkward teenager to a doting father going out on his terms and relishing every moment of what he swears are his final Games.

RELATED: Michael Phelps' baby, Boomer, steals dad's Olympic spotlight

Women's Eight

You want to talk about Dream Teams? Here you go.

The U.S. women’s eight rowing team is seeking its 11th consecutive major title in Saturday’s final. Starting with the 2006 world championships, the women’s eight has won every world and Olympic title over the last 10 years.

Think about that. We’ve had two presidents and nine different Super Bowl champions since the women’s eight has lost a race.

Anjelina Nadai Lohalith

Anjelina fled her village in South Sudan when she was six and hasn’t seen her parents since. She has lived since then at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, and took up running when she was in grade school at the camp.

Ker Robertson / Getty Images

Though she won several school races, it wasn’t until Tegla Loroupe’s group came to Kakuma to see if any of the refugees were promising enough to train with her foundation’s group that Lohalith realized running could change her life.

Volleyball

Volleyball has its last pool play games, Friday against Italy and Sunday against China. Last year, four members of the team – Jordan Larson-Burbach, Courtney Thompson, Christa Harmotto Dietzen and Foluke Akinradwo – helped found the “Give it Back” Foundation to raise money for charity and empower young girls.

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

The players host instructional camps for young girls, and the money they raise goes to a charity supported by one of the players. The first camp, held last year in Kent, Washington, raised $35,000 for Children’s Therapy of Kent, Washington, Thompson’s hometown. They’ve got another one planned for Hawaii in December.

TOP