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Original Issue

Q+A Matt Lauer

The 46-year-old cohost of Today, which will air live from Athens Aug. 12–27, is covering his fourth Olympics.

SI: Of you, Katie Couric, Al Roker and Ann Curry, who do we need to make sure doesn’t get too much ouzo in Greece?

Lauer: I think you want to keep Al away from the alcohol anywhere you go. But Katie is the person to watch because she’s already got a little bit of the lampshade-on-the-head personality. I’m probably the last person you have to worry about because even with five or six ouzos in me, I’m not going to be the guy doing cartwheels at the Parthenon.

SI: If all of my questions were about Guy Lafleur, Brett Hull and Pavel Bure, would you accuse me of being preoccupied with a vast right wing conspiracy?

Lauer: [Laughs.] There’s no question about it: I am a vast right wing fan.

SI: You climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the 2000 Games, and at Salt Lake City in 2002 you took a ride on a luge. What will you do in Greece?

Lauer: I’m going to try to go off the high platform in diving. [2000 Olympic gold medalist] Laura Wilkinson is going to take me up. There is little or no chance I’ll dive from there. There’s a minor chance I’ll jump from there. And there’s a huge chance I’ll walk right back down the ladder.

SI: You’re a golfer with a seven handicap. If you could pick any TV person to be your caddie, who would it be?

Lauer: I’d want to watch Katie lug the bag. And I would have 23 clubs in it.

SI: You often play Bryant Gumbel in golf. Who’s up?

Lauer: He’ll tell you it’s even. I’m probably up. But that’s said with a smile.

SI: Which athlete would be a good Today cast member?

Lauer: Maybe Maurice Greene, a guy who is super-confident. Although he is crazy confident to the point where sometimes you want to grab him and pull his heels back down to earth.

SI: As partnerships go, is Couric-Lauer more Russell-Cousy, Jordan-Pippen or Shaq-Kobe?

Lauer: We’re more Clemens-Piazza.

--Richard Deitsch

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