TOKYO (NEXSTAR) — Covering the Games during a pandemic has presented its own set of challenges.
Nexstar’s Marielena Balouris sat down with Lester Holt, NBC Nightly News anchor, to discuss the games –the highs, the lows and everything in between.
This is Lester Holt’s 10th Olympic Games, so he’s seen a lot. This one is obviously different — but no less special.
Balouris spoke with Lester Holt about how the pandemic has impacted the games — and what he hopes people take away from it.
Q: Obviously, these Olympics are different, but they are still the Olympics. What are the similarities you’re seeing between these games and previous games?
“Well these are my 10 Olympic Games and I’ve been to many that were preceded by challenging situations, if you will, that dominated the attention. But every time the athletes take over and they steal the headlines in a good way, and I think that’s what you’re seeing here. Our focus is on the field of play. We’ve seen some incredible demonstrations supporting each other, going the extra mile. They’re all just happy this is happening, they waited a long time. there was a lot of uncertainty over whether these games would happen and you’re seeing them embrace it.”
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve experienced since being here?
“There’s no question this was a challenge, the COVID reality was the COVID reality. To contain it, they set up protocols that were challenging. We worked our way around them, we anticipated them, we put people in the ground to get through.”
Q: What will be the thing that you remember the most, the highlight?
“The thing that always gets me, every time, is there is something about being in a foreign land and hearing your anthem played and your flag being raised and it takes me out every time.”
Q: What do you think the legacy and impact of Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw herself from competitions will be?
“You know, I think it’s kind of a good example for kids and for all us that sometimes, you know, it just ain’t right. You know, you have to listen to yourself and listen to your body. I think it’s a reminder to all of us, no matter what level you’re on, that sometimes you have to take care of number one.”
Holt added that when it comes to the longer legacy of mental health, he thinks all that’s happened in Tokyo will propel that conversation.