Top viral Olympic moments from the NBC Sports newsroom

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Over the last two weeks, the NBC Sports newsroom has watched a lot of Olympic events.

From archery to handball to synchronized swimming, we’ve seen it all, including some of the most viral moments that sports has seen this summer.

We laughed, we cried and we uttered the word ‘WOW’ more times than any of us can count. Here is the newsroom’s favorite viral Olympic moments:

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 20: Neymar of Brazil celebrates scoring the winning penalty in the penalty shoot out during the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Germany at the Maracana Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Neymar’s penalty kick to bring host nation, Brazil, gold in soccer

Brazil’s two years of worldwide soccer struggles began with Neymar’s fractured spine on home soil, causing the captain to miss Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup ouster at the hands of Germany in 2014. That that loss at the Estadio Castelao came at the hands of Germany makes the 24-year-old’s performance in this year’s Olympic final even sweeter. Neymar was a man possessed in Rio, especially in the gold medal match; He opened his team’s scoring by kissing a free kick off the crossbar and beyond German goalkeeper Timo Horn. The goal was viral enough, but not as much as the images following Neymar’s winning penalty kick in front of his home fans at the Maracana. The devout weeping superstar dropped to his knees, looking skyward with his arms stretching toward either sideline stand full of jubilant Brazilians: Two years behind schedule, the country’s biggest star delivered a golden prize on home soil.

–Nick Mendola, ProSoccerTalk

Usain Bolt beams in epic photo during 100m Semifinal

The photo of Usain Bolt leading the pack in his 100m semifinal captures the essence of his 2016 Olympic Games perfectly. A bunch of talented athletes trained for years to compete in the Olympics and are huffing and puffing behind Bolt, who flashes a smile at Getty photographer Cameron Spencer as if he’s taking a jog in the park. Bolt delighted viewers internationally because he made each race look so effortless. Cameron captured one of the best images of the Rio Games, one of an athlete that this generation will reminisce about for decades to come.

–Olivia Reiner,

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14: Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 100 meter semifinal on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

 Runners come together for Olympic moment in women’s 5000m

There are some moments over history that become indelibile to the Olympic Games. For the 2016 Olympic Games, it was the moment USA runner Abbey D’agostino and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin collided during the women’s 5,000m and the subsequent actions.

Instead of scrambling to return to the pack, D’Agostino went to Hamblin to help her up and urge the New Zealand native to finish the race. After finishing, doctors would discover D’Aogstino had a torn ACL, strained MCL, and torn meniscus.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 11

The two 5,000-meter runners, whose act of friendship captured the Olympic spirit, were each awarded with the Pierre de Coubertin medal in Rio for their display of extreme sportsmanship and personifying the Olympics.

For another brief yet indelible moment in history, the Olympics weren’t about winning, but rather the spirit of competition and desire to help your fellow man, and a moment to be celebrated from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

–Keenan Slusher,

Mongolian coaches protest result by shedding clothes

On an absolutely loaded weekend of professional wrestling, somehow the Mongolian wrestling coaches found a way to steal the show.

In the bronze medal match of the 65kg weight class, Mandakhnaran Ganzorig was deducted a point for avoiding Uzbekistan’s Ikhtiyor Navruzov in the final seconds. Due to the penalty, the match ended in a tie, so Navruzov was awarded the bronze medal because he had scored the final point.

This did not sit well with the Mongolian coaches. They initially challenged the call by throwing a toy version of the Rio mascot (yes a stuffed version of the mascot is the equivalent of the NFL’s red flag). When the judges stood by their decision, the coaches’ music hit and the crowd lost their collective mind:

–Scott Dargis,

Katie Ledecky dominates competition in 800m freestyle

Katie Ledecky is ridiculous.

Never was this more evident than during the 800m free in which Ledecky destroyed the field by so much that, upon finishing the race, the next-closest swimmer WASN’T EVEN IN THE FRAME.

Seriously. Look at that. It’s like if I tried to run a 5K against a six-month-old.

There’s a difference between being an Olympian and being the Olympian that makes every other Olympian feel bad about themselves. Katie Ledecky makes everyone feel bad about themselves.

–Corey Griffin,

Lilly King’s finger wag at Yulia Efimova

All this needs is this GIF.


Colombian wrestler celebrates silver, retires

For the athletes the Olympics are the culmination of years of hard work, well beyond the four years in between Games. And that’s why I’ll always remember Colombian weightlifter Oscar Figueroa’s reaction after he took gold in the 62 kg weight class.

Already assured of a gold medal Figueroa missed his final attempt, and his reaction was everything. He celebrated, he gave thanks, he cried, and he removed his shoes and placed them on the mat to symbolize his immediate retirement from the sport. A move I first saw done by American Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner and imitated by others, retiring in the immediate aftermath of a competition is something you don’t always see. Especially in this era of lengthy farewell tours and the like.

For that reason, Oscar Figueroa’s moment will be something from these Olympics that I won’t forget anytime soon.

–Raphielle Johnson, CollegeBasketballTalk

Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera of Colombia reacts during the Men's 62kg Group A weightlifting contest on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro - Pavilion 2 on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera of Colombia reacts during the Men’s 62kg Group A weightlifting contest on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Riocentro – Pavilion 2 on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


While there were plenty of memorable moments in the Olympics, the one that easily stands out is PhelpsFace. Michael Phelps’ intense staredown of Chad le Clos, the swimmer who beat him in the 2012 games in London, was the first true sign that the Maryland native was locked into the Rio Games. He wanted to dominate and getting back at Le Clos was on his list. And the Sith Lord memes and four-day hashtags that ensued were extra special bonuses as the reward.

–Alex Labidou,

Zac Efron surprises the Final Five, but Simone Biles’ reaction is tremendous

It’s good to be Simone Biles. The world’s top gymnast led the Final Five to team gold and earned four additional medals of her own, but that isn’t the only reason why she’s making girls around the world jealous. Just days after the internet went crazy for her awe-inspiring routines she set the internet ablaze again for her reaction to being surprised by the one and only Zac Efron.

Biles was never shy about her love for the actor and as a result the Final Five was treated to a surprise visit by the star in Rio. While surprise visits from famous people are enough to go viral, the best part of the whole thing was perhaps Biles’ reaction itself. It was pure elation and embarrassment after realizing he must know about her life-size cutout of him in her room, he was of course unfazed. The funniest moment is the anger Biles felt when she realized teammate, Laurie Hernandez, got to hug him first. It’s easily one of the top light-hearted side stories of the Games, if not for Efron himself, but to prove that Biles, while a 19-year-old phenom, is just like the rest of us.

–Brittany Burke,

Leslie Jones joins NBC in Rio

The SNL comedian was charming us all via Twitter with her sensational (and sometimes NSFW) commentary from her couch, when NBC invited her to come to Rio. She saw Simone Biles and Aly Raisman win medals in the women’s all-around, met Shawn White and even watched Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross compete in beach volleyball. Plus the U.S. women’s water polo team even gave her one of their robes.

The point is that Jones lived every Olympic fanatic’s dream: Being able to see the events in person and experience what the Olympics are all about. Slay all day, Leslie.

–Tess Quinlan, 

 Simone Manuel’s amazing reaction to becoming the first African-American woman to win a swimming medal

Simone Manuel might have been the lesser-known Simone of the Rio Olympics, but her story is just as inspiring and her 2016 medal count just about as high. After winning gold in the 100m freestyle, she was arguably the most amazed out of anyone (see below) and that kind of reaction is just what the Olympic spirit is all about. She had one of the best facial reactions to her win, but followed that up with one of the best quotes of 2016, declaring “This medal isn’t just for me.”


Simone dedicated her gold to everyone who ‘think they can’t do it’ which is just all of us at one point or another. So, major props to Simone for being the beast to show us all that, in the most non-cliché way possible: yes, you can. Also shoutout to all the future that will be named after Simone in about nine months. You’ll be named after a legend.

–Keaton McAuliffe, 

Americans dark horses for most golds in Winter Olympics betting futures

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While Germany and Norway were 1-2 in gold medals the last time that a Winter Games was held in Asia, the reality of a reduced Russian presence is why the two European nations are expected to do so again at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

With the Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, due to officially begin on Friday, Norway is a narrow +150 favorite with Germany a +160 second favorite on the most gold medals futures board, according to sportsbooks monitored by The countries are each listed at +175 to garner the most medals overall.

In gold medal props, the United States (+500) and Canada (+700) are the high-value outside shots. The prices are similar in overall medals futures: United States +400 and Canada +500.

The main question is how much Russia being marginalized due to doping scandals – it has been allowed to keep 29 medals from Sochi 2014, but the Olympic Athletes From Russia team will be lucky to reach half that – will open opportunities for other leading nations.

The working theory for taking Norway in either prop is the Scandinavian nation’s consistency – a minimum of nine golds in five of the last six Winter Olympics – and its depth in the few sports its masters. Norway is a lock to dominate cross-country skiing, while alpine skiers Kjetil Jansrud and Askel Lund Svindal will duel for downhill and super-G hardware.

A similar case can be made with Germany, which won the most golds during two of the last five Winter Olympics (Nagano 1998 and Torino 2006). Biathlete Laura Dahlmeier, with her primary rival dropping out, could be Phelps-on-snow with a chance at six gold medals. Germany is also poised to dominate the sliding center, with projections of a four-gold sweep in luge and two strong sleds in two-man and four-man bobsled.

With the Americans’ spread of talent across all 15 Winter Games sports and 102 events, the United States is worth a value play to win the most gold medals. The over/under on American golds is 10.5, which is certainly attainable, especially if the women’s hockey team, a -120 favorite against even-money Canada, is able to get the gold.

The over/under on golds for Canada is 8.5, but America’s northern neighbor has only exceeded the threshold twice, in 2010 and 2014. Between the NHL sitting out the men’s hockey competition and key injuries to stars – defending women’s ski cross champion Marielle Thompson hasn’t raced all winter and world champion alpine skier Erik Guay is out due to injury – it might be best to fade the Canadians.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at

WATCH: Relive Usain Bolt’s three Olympic gold medal runs in 100m

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Usain Bolt makes it look easy.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt was a precocious 21-year-old that begged his coach to let him run in both the 100- and 200-meter sprint. Even at the ripe young age of 21, fans watched in awe and anticipation as Usain ‘Lighting’ Bolt took off, winning “by daylight.”

Four years later at the 2012 London Olympic games, Bolt did it again. He exploded off the block, sprinting his way to victory in order to keep his title as the king of the 100-meter sprint.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics fans watched on as Bolt took a different approach to winning. He didn’t blow away the field right away as per usual. He watched Justin Gatlin pull ahead to a sizable lead. Yet, in typical Bolt fashion, he ran Gatlin down, winning the 100-meter sprint, keeping up his image of impenetrability.

Throughout Bolt’s career his consistency and drive have never wavered. It doesn’t matter who has the lead, if there’s a will, there’s a way with Bolt.

An incredible athlete and an even better showman, Bolt’s retirement leaves a gaping hole to be filled. Every time the gun goes off and the fans roar, Bolt is ready to perform. It’s as if the roar of the crowd energizes Bolt, propelling him forward as he sprints his way to victory, time and time again.