I’m back! My apologies for a brief hiatus as I’ve been under the weather with a serious virus throughout the last week.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to be bed ridden for the first official week of the TODAY Show live from Copacabana. I went stir crazy and felt like I was missing out on an event I’ve been highly anticipating for months.

A full recovery wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous care I received from NBC’s medical team, but especially my aunt Karen Trosset, who graciously insisted that I move in with her.

Officially, I was out of the office for a total of seven days while on a strong antibiotic that flushed out my system. It took a lot of patience, positive thinking and mental toughness to push through whatever was limiting my body.

Anyways, check out a few snapshots of Ipanema, which is a neighbor beach to Copacabana:

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This past Saturday, I had some down time to check out one of Rio’s most iconic sights: Sugarloaf Mountain (PÃO DE AÇÚCAR). By way of cable car, we slowly climbed to the top and overlooked a breathtaking city we’ve been lucky enough to reside in the last three weeks.

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You can’t quite make it out in the picture above, but Christ the Redeemer was peeping through the clouds. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World!

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Today began our final week of shows in Copacabana. With the majority of swimming events and golf tournament already being decided, over 35 athletes were invited as guests on the TODAY Show. Needless to say, it was a packed house.

The most decorated Olympian of all-time graced fans, athletes and Brazilian locals with his presence. Michael Phelps arrived to the set with his pride and joy Boomer and wife Nicole. A side note: Michael’s son Boomer literally has his own Instagram. 483,000 followers and counting.

My interesting take: I noticed even the other medal winners who were on as guests treated Michael as a star. It speaks to just how much of an impact his success has had on different generations.

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Americans and other fans of the TODAY Show came out in droves this morning, easily filling up the crowd section of our beach set. It was great to feel the buzz and excitement for the success the United States of America has enjoyed thus far in Rio.

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Check out these awesome fans who brought a whole lot of energy and positive vibes to this morning’s show:

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A quick story for you! To my readers from Loyola, I apologize. You already know this one.

Michael Phelps, a Baltimore native, trained at Loyola University Maryland’s Fitness & Aquatic Center for years before his recent move to Arizona. This was and is a big deal for us in Charm City. Many feel attached to Michael and with all of his success and some minor ups and downs, the love and pride has only seemed to grow larger in Baltimore. But who am I kidding? It’s not just Baltimore. I’d argue that the better half of the entire DMV feels a sense of attachment to Michael.

For a man who has a ton going on in his world right now, I appreciate him taking the time to pose for this:

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As far as I’m concerned, Michael has to be in the conversation as one of the greatest Olympians to ever live. I wish him nothing but the best in his post-swimming adventures.

I’m nine days away from departure. Time is ticking more than ever. And as always, thanks for the read! Hope to fit in one or two more posts prior to leaving.