Skip to main content

tv   Dateline On Assignment  NBC  May 15, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

7:00 pm
i did on the back side, really bearing down, nothingling down, you know, i'm going to hold this memory for a long time, just i owe a lot to not only my team, but, you know the fans for keeping pe young this week. it was a lot of fun to play in front of an aunt as well. >> you put on a deteriorate show, thank you for that. jason day, the 2016 players' champion. >> as is the tradition here, abc sawgrass the raising of the australian grass over in the sickle of champions greg norman, steve elkington, had all those years ago another man from down under is the crown jerusalem of the pga tour and just some superlatives to strooi try to
7:01 pm
wrap up the day for jason. moves to the top of the list in the fedexcup. we mentioned seventh and 17th. fourth aussie to win it. just the fifth wire-to-wire players champion. never easy to close these things out. especially when have you all week, you are sleeping on the lead to get through 16, 17, 18. that's always in the back of your mind as well. >> five wins last season, three this season. he is definitely the best player we have in golf. i can't 28 get through the three majors, open championship at royal trun, we look forward to all of them to see how jason day can perform. certainly outperformed everybody by a wide margin this week. if you missed any of today's action, catch up with golf central, and the senior pga championship is next up, presented by kitchen aid, coverage may 26th on golf
7:02 pm
channel. coming up next, except on the west coast, it's an all new "dateline on assignth, followed by "little big shots" and all new episodes, "the carmichael show" and "dateline." as we say good-bye to get another championships week, we do so accompanied appropriately enough by another aussie. country music star keith urban, to take us home. so long, everyone. [ music playing ]
7:03 pm
7:04 pm
every year, the amount of data your enterprise uses goes up. smart devices are up. cloud is up. analytics is up. seems like everything is up except your budget. introducing comcast business enterprise solutions. with a different kind of network that delivers the bandwidth you need without the high cost. because you can't build the business of tomorrow on the network of yesterday.
7:05 pm
tonight, nbc news goes on assignment. >> i felt a giant peace ♪ >> matt lauer one on one with the most decorated olympic champ ever. >> i've never ever heard you say the things you are saying right now. >> before olympics number five, michael phelps speaks about the demons that plagued him. >> is this a cry for help? >> i believe so, yeah. >> and how rehab saved him. >> i'm not hiding behind anything anymore. >> harry smith ventures thousands of miles to an enchanted land where tv news cameras have never been. >> we like to think of
7:06 pm
it as paradise lost and found. >> it is teaming with life. on the land, in the sea. >> shark coming in. >> could this magical spot hold the secret to help saving the planet? >> what's happening is really an sos signal. we have to do something. >> but first, richard engel with an nbc news investigation, the terrorist that grew up next door. >> can i talk to you for a minute. >> when did you learn he had gone to syria to join isis? >> right now. >> you didn't know until right now? >> americans who joined isis. tonight we reveal their identities. >> there are 15 names here. an aspiring doctor, valedictorian, husband, their baby, how did these young americans become terrorists. >> brutally. >> do you think the boy you grew up with was capable of doing those kinds of things?
7:07 pm
>> yes, in an instant. >> the story right now on assignment. welcome to "on assignment. i'm lester holt. we begin with an investigation in to the enemy within. americans who left the country to join isis. tonight we reveal who they are. richard engel reports. >> reporter: two months ago in this small border town in turkey, we met a man who said he was an isis defector. he handed us a thumb drive containing the details of thousands of isis fighters. it was an unprecedented treasure trove of information, since verified by u.s. government agencies of all of the thousands of names we focused on 15, because they come from right here in the united states. these american isis fighters are for the most part the sons of immigrant parents who came to this country to find the american dream, and they did.
7:08 pm
their sons grew up in this country, went to school here, had friends and ambitions, but they left it behind to join a terrorist group. why? are there more? and what did law enforcement miss? we asked retired fbi agent to joan our investigation. >> how are you? nice to meet you. >> reporter: he spent much of his 20-year career tracking radical. this is not the most elaborate room but these are the documents. >> the documents coen tan news about these men. >> omar katan was a student at the university of texas and then signed up to be a suicide attacker. mohammad went to high school in suburban minneapolis, alberto renteria, a convert to islam from gilroy, california, is seen here inside of syria. >> the vast majority
7:09 pm
say i want to be a fighter but this one said i want to be a suicide bomber. so he doesn't want to come back. >> reporter: of all of the names on the list two americans stood out because they appeared to arrive in syria on the same day, jarreryraihan. >> there is no way your kid will change from normal person to a jihadi suicide bomber. >> nobody noticed. >> and no one notice any difference. >> reporter: on a small suburban street outside of columbus, we found his parents home. >> can i talk to you for a minute? you don't want to talk to me? well, he clearly didn't want to speak. get lost is what he said. he said he was going to call the police. >> reporter: off camera, his father
7:10 pm
told us he brought his children to america from bangladesh 16 years ago and has at times worked two jobs to support the family. he said he hasn't heard from his son in two years and disavows what he has done. meanwhile, our team tracked down this video of him. >> you look at him and he's an outgoing kid. >> one of his best friends in high school. >> he was an exceptional student. >> he wanted to go to harvard. >> yes, he wanted to be a doctor. he wanted to help people. >> reporter: in this video about an aquarium project he comes across as a typical teen, smart, even a little geeky. >> we tried things like adding nutrient testing, levels of ph, et cetera. >> reporter: in his junior year he started to slip. >> he stopped showing up, dodging class. >> reporter: before graduation, he disappeared. >> he was off the radar, gone.
7:11 pm
>> were you worried? >> of course. everyone was worried. >> reporter: then about a year later, in november of 2014, phil suddenly got a text message from rasal over skype. >> he's acting mysterious. >> acting completely out of character. >> he writes an says the fbi may come knocking on your door. >> at that point i was like what the hell did you do? >> reporter: what rasal had done was unthinkable. he joined a terrorist organization and was already in syria. but he didn't tell phil that. he did tell him who had guided him on his path. >> i hate to make assumptions but i believe because that's what he stated, he talked to his sister. that's how he got in to islam. >> so he he had a sister and she clearly played a key role. here she is at 16 in an ohio public television video. >> it is harvest time. i haven't had this experience before.
7:12 pm
>> reporter: zakia was also a hard-working high-achieving student. she graduated as a valedictorian but a close friend of hers said she became increasingly religious, distant and got married soon after graduation. her husband, khan. her husband traveled to syria with her little brother. a picture was starting to emerge. >> what seems to be most mysterious is this connection. now did zakia link up with jaffrey? >> reporter: jaffrey grew up in a million dollar home in california. our first stop an office building where jaffrey's father runs a medical marketing company. >> i'm looking for mr. khan. i'm richard engel from nbc news. we tried to call you a few times.
7:13 pm
could i talk to you for a minute? many of the family members we approach for the story didn't want to appear on camera, for fear of a backlash. off camera jaffrey's father who came from pakistan at a young age told us what he said to the fbi, he hasn't spoken to his son in nearly two years. we found this you tube video of jaffrey goofing around with his cousin, that cousin agreed to meet with us in the park where they used to hajj out. >> no one else was really that close to me as jaffrey was. >> reporter: he says he was in to rap music, marijuana and the internet until he started watching propaganda videos. >> he was getting angry and said we're surrounded by a bunch of sinful people and we should move to a muse limb country. >> he was more angry. more hateful toward americans. >> it was around that
7:14 pm
time,er he says that jaffrey met and quickly married zakia. >> how did they meet. >> on-line, like a matrimonial website. >> was she religion. >> she wore the hijab and covered her face. >> the newlyweds settled in ohio and she enrolled at ohio state university. of all places, they chose to move in to this building, where an al-qaeda member, christopher paul was arrested in 2007. paul is serving a long prison sentence for plotting attacks, but his wife lived next door to zakia and jaffrey. we went to a nearby mosque where paul used to pray to see if anyone there them. >> i had met jaffrey. the other two i'm not familiar with. >> reporter: the mosque's board president. >> there have been a number of people who have passed through these doors who have ended up being associated with extremist groups.
7:15 pm
>> there have been a few. >> how do you explain that? >> they were not actually involved in the mosque too much. if someone wants to worship, they are welcome to. what they do outside of their life is their own business, violence, terrorism, these are in direct contradiction with the teachings of islam. the fact they were living on the street concerns me and the fact they were attending the mosque concerns me. >> did you miss something? >> i don't know. i don't think so. >> reporter: but clearly something was happening down the street. a family was becoming a cell. 17-year-old rasal was spending more and more time with his sister zakia and her new husband jaffrey. >> he had brainwashed him in to joining, as well. >> you think jaffrey made the younger brother extreme? >> definitely, yeah. >> reporter: in 2012 and 2013, authorities may haved that their best chance to stop this american isis cell. the fbi got a tip
7:16 pm
warning jaffrey may be mixed up with jihadist extremists once more he and his wife traveled to kenya where they claim to have lost their passports. skorgt to his skype text with phil, he was interviewed by the fbi and zakia and jaffrey were on the watch list for terrorism. >> his mom called and i was like how is jaffrey doing and she is like he joined isis and went overseas with his wife and took her brother so they all went to fight, all three of them. >> that was news to phil in columbus. >> when did you learn that he had gone to syria to join isis? >> i didn't know about the isis part until today, right now. >> you didn't know until right now? >> i didn't know until right now. he actually is?
7:17 pm
>> yes. what a shame. >> we learned rasal that took the fighter name the american was killed. he was according to one family member in the wrong place at the wrong time. that would be syria in the age of isis. but zakia and jaffrey are said to be alive and well, working at this well-equipped hospital in raqqah. the capital of the so called islamic state. ten months ago they had a baby girl and named her miriam. >> you know what isis does. >> yes. >> the beheadings and brutality. >> very extreme. >> ahmed heard that jaffrey was present at a mass beheading of christians. >> do you think the boy you grew up with, who became this man is capable, was capable of doing that kind of thing? >> yes. if he talked about people that are killing muslims, he
7:18 pm
will do it in an instant. >> you don't think that somebody, you or others, had a duty to pick up the phone and say this guy is talking about killing americans, they deserve to die? no alarms went off. >> at the time, no. >> if not you, why didn't anyone else in the family pick up this phone? >> i believe they were either scared oar didn't care too much about him. >> reporter: in a written statement, the family said his actions and decisions have been heart breaking, and that we do not support his personal choices. off camera,s jaffrey's mother told us she is in contact with him over encrypted text messages. >> as serious as the threat is here for the united states it pails in comparison to toe threat faced by our closest western allies. >> john carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security. >> we found a young man jaffrey who one of
7:19 pm
his acquaintances reported him to the fbi. he attended a mosque where a former al-qaeda member who is now in jail attended. he was known to his family members to be coming increasingly radical and dangerous. yet,er he managed to travel abroad multiple times. >> i'm not going to talk about particular cases here, but i think at the beginning of the threat we need to get better at disrupting those that would travel overseas as foreign terrorist fighters. we need to work with communities to do everything we can to disrupt those who would go join this terrible group overseas and might try to return here to commit attacks or atrocities there. >> reporter: the fbi says its seeing a drop in young men trying to go overseas to join isis, but gamal, the former fbi agent said the threat will remain unless we take a smarter approach to counter the isis
7:20 pm
message. >> i think this is the tip of the iceberg. >> that implies the isis problem in america is much bigger than we think it is. is that what you are saying. >> if it is not now it will be bigger if we don't do something about it fast. >> i can tell you right now people will not like to hear that. >> well, it is my expert opinion and the fact i believe in. >> coming up. >> i feel like a high school kid again. >> swimmer michael phelps goes for olympics number five. tonight the new father opens up about his own father. >> the feeling of being abandoned by my father. i was a kid that always wanted a family. >> a powerful conversation with matt lauer. >> the world will see me in a different way. don't let bad odors escape.
7:21 pm
7:22 pm
continuously neutralize them with glad with febreze. the only bag with the irresistible scent of gain. lergies with nasal congestion? find fast relief behind the counter with claritin-d. [ upbeat music ] strut past that aisle for the allergy relief that starts working in as little as 30 minutes and contains the best oral decongestant. live claritin clear, with claritin-d. the sprint network is now and i'm on a mission to moreprove it's the fastest. hey big man. sorry. what is that, verizon? i bet sprint can download this book faster. no way bro. your lucky tooth necklace for anything on that trailer. i'll take the grizzly. well played. go! come on. come on. sprint wins! double or nothing. you're on.
7:23 pm
what? for the bike. the sprint lte network is now more reliable than ever. and now, add amazon prime for just $10.99 a month. but kids have plenty to say. >> not like taxis, taxes. >> taxes is what you pay to live in that house forever. >> money matters, that's later at the kids' table. also ahead -- olympic champ michael phelps
7:24 pm
makes a splash with a surprise revelation. >> they had no idea. >> no one did. i almost got away with it. >> and harry smith takes the plunge. in to a water adventure of his own. >> shark coming in. >> would you wonder what it is like to do something like this. amazing. >> the most m magnificent paradise you have never seen. ♪ whoa go with me now it's made for those who vacation like they mean it. universal orlando resort. atcreate your own seafood trios you can try something new with every bite. pick 3 of 9 all-new creations for $15.99.
7:25 pm
like baked lobster alfredo chimichurri shrimp and crab cakes bursting with crab meat. just hurry in before it ends. school lunch can be difficult. cafeteria chaos. one little struggle... can lead to one monumental mishap. not with ziploc easy open tabs. because life needs ziploc. sc johnson.
7:26 pm
7:27 pm
♪ more than 3,000 miles away from this nearest -- and deep in the ocean is a tiny sliver of land called palmyra. it is so unique it is a laboratory for sign tilss. harry smith found their mission is nothing less than trying to save the planet. >> we're in a place you have probably never heard of. this is the palmyra atol where fish and birds and coral abound like few other places on the planet. living proof that left to its own devices, nature can heal itself. we like to think of it as paradise lost and
7:28 pm
found. there's about 1,000 miles of water between hawaii and palmyra. we loaded a plane with gear, and with our guides from the nature conner conservancy we headed out. >> going to paradise. >> the u.s. military used as a base in world war ii and conveniently left a runway. the nature conservancy has a research station on palmyra and most of the time the only people here a skeleton crew of four. dr. stephmy weir is a senior scientist with the nature conservancy. >> this is a place teaming with life. it's on land, in the sea, in the air. there are thousands of birds nesting here, baby sharks swimming at our doorsteps. you know, tripping over crabs. >> reporter: palmyra is a petri dish of possibility. it shows what can
7:29 pm
happen when you remove the things that harm an environment, especially impressive because the entire atoll was flattened in world war ii to make room for 2,000 u.s. troops. yet here, birds thrive, free to mate and raise their young because rats and nonnative species were eradicated. a formidable undertaking led by dr. alex wegman how important is the habitat to them. >> there are no mallalian -- they can breed until their heart is content. >> look like they are doing a good job. >> great job. >> do you ever get tired of standing here and watching this unfold? >> never. it is fantastic. >> reporter: palmyra is a welcome place for
7:30 pm
all kinds of birds, red footed, massed and truly a sanctuary. along the landing strip, birds like to hang out on either side, including the bristle 5 cur lieu of which there are 7,000 in the whole world. i talk to them. sometimes they talk back. [ whistling ] [ chirping [ pacific [. >> what you get is a clear understanding of the balance of nature. the interdependence, the symbiosis. what the birds leave on the leaves gets washed in to the sea that help the plankton thrive and where there are plenty of plankton there are rays like these that came to visit us every night. this is u.s. territory. and the cooperative effort of the department of the interior, the u.s. fish and wildlife
7:31 pm
service and the nature conservan conservancy. palmyra is one of the protected areas known as monuments in the pacific totally a half billion acres of which susan white is the superintendent. >> huge big swaths of the pacific that are protected? >> yeah. >> what does that mean, protected? >> it is protected so they stay wild. we'll never have condominiums here. the critters have homes to live in without having to adapt too much to having people around them all the time. >> can we afford to have these monuments out in the pacific ocean where nothing and everything happens? >> yeah, right. the simple answer is i don't think we can afford not to. >> what does it mean for you to be here and to see how well this place is doing? >> it feeds my soul. it's a part of who i am. i'm very -- you are going to make me cry. yeah.
7:32 pm
very lucky. the best thing we can have in life is to do something we believe in, that we are passioned about. yeah. yeah. bad tears. >> good tears. >> palmyra is a string of tiny islands surrounded by 16,000 acres of lagoons and coral reefs. concerned the same might be true, we headed to see a zooologist and coral researcher with the nature conservancy. >> you want to show me around a little bit? >> let's look at what is here. >> 170 different species of coral on palmyra. >> 170? >> yes, indeed. >> reporter: most of the coral was in great shape, but there were spots of concern.
7:33 pm
>> this is probably bleached, not too healthy. >> that is wrong as the great barrier reefs. >> yeah. >> they bleach when water temperature is colder than normal killing the coral if global temperatures continue to rise it will make it difficult for reefs to rebound. so as the reefs go, so go the ocean, oceans that feed us and help us breathe. because because of its isolation and protection, palmyra's reefs are still in good shape. this is so peaceful. it is almost beyond your imagination. >> reporter: for where there's good, healthy coral there's lots of fish and fishing, by the way, is illegal within a 50-mile radius of palmyra. >> we have a huge snapper and shark cruising through, right in front of us. all a at the same time.
7:34 pm
i could get used to this. >> shark coming in. another black tip coming off the left. >> we kind of stick out down here. we don't belong. >> we mean you no harm, sir. >> reporter: the sharks pose no threat to us. reef sharks no bigger than five feet or so. but let's be honest, they are so cool to see, so close. >> this is your office. coming to work every day is not so bad when your office looks like this. palmyra is one of the best last plaiss on earth, a reminder of how things could be. how they ought to be. >> one of the unique things about palmyra, it has a population of four. there are very few places in the world that you can access to study coral reefs where you can really minimize human impact. so we can ask
7:35 pm
questions, better understand what is happening on a reef, understand how a reef functions because we can eliminate the confusion of what people create, basically, when they are living near a coral reef. we can see the coral reef more clearly here. >> reporter: it's like taking this static 0 it of a radio signal. >> a perfect analogy. >> reporter: where there's no static, dr. weir hears a call for help. >> i think what is happening with coral reefs is an sos signal for the planet. what is happening right now the global coral bleaching events is dramatic. to me that is a coral screaming we have to do something. there's very few systems that can give us this visible, dramatic signal to point out how things are changing. >> reporter: as isolat aedpas lmyra is, the evidence of human carelessness is everywhere. trash on the beach that floats in from
7:36 pm
all over the pacific. here we are in the most perfect place left on the planet and there's this. >> right. >> there's crap like this all over this beach. >> how can this be? we are go doing a good job of putting crap in the ocean and we have to stop. this is about all of us changing behaviors and getting involved. >> do you think you can do that? do you think you can get people to sort of change their behavior enough to bring the planet back to some semblance of nature? >> so my answer to that is if i didn't what the hell am i doing, right? i would be crazy. i would be crazy to do this if i did not think it was possible for us to do that. >> are you crazy? >> i don't think so. >> reporter: after three days here, we'd seen so much.
7:37 pm
but there was one more boat ride ahead. to one of palmyra's most delicate spots. ♪ ♪ it's time to get seriously silly, people. ♪ join red nose day to do some serious good to help fight kids' poverty. ♪ it's simple: just get your red nose, only at walgreens, and get your silly on, seriously. walgreens. at the corner of happy and healthy. to twhat a good dealing looks like... no. seriously?
7:38 pm
we'll give it a 6 for composition. scary. wow, what about just putting a fair, no haggle price on the window? not zany enough? ♪ sometimes the best deals are pretty plain to see. ♪ oh, hi! ooh. hi! goodbye thick sunscreen. hi! [ awkwardly laughing ] hello coppertone clearly sheer. it provides beach level protection that's ultra light to let your skin breathe. coppertone clearly sheer. hello sunshine. perfect union of a cheez-it and a chip. you mean like they got married? umm... i guess... you'd make a pretty bride in that wedding gown. oh, it's a lab coat so... hey everyone, joe's getting married! bam bam ba bam. oh, i'm not. we take time for our cheese to mature in our crispy cheez-it grooves. dogs - sure can be messy. but with nexgard, their flea and tick killer doesn't have to be. nexgard, the vet's #1 choice for dogs,
7:39 pm
is a delicious, beef-flavored chew that kills both fleas and ticks. so it's easy to give, easy to take. reported side effects include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, lethargy and lack of appetite. use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures. why mess around? for powerful flea and tick protection, ask your vet about nexgard. the #1 choice of vets for their dogs and yours. so hurry in now for great deals like bonnie's herbs and veggies, 4 for $10. plus save 5% every day when you use your lowe's consumer credit card. don't miss out on spring's best savings at lowe's. pa, wiland how he savede story fried chicken forever? by making it the hard way? which means using fresh whole chickens from american farms.
7:40 pm
a milk and egg wash. hand breadin' in a slow fast food patented, pressure-frying process that takes no less than twenty-five minutes. and how cantankerous, fastidious, and handsome he was daddy? daddy? okay. see you when the rooster crows. colonel quality, guaranteed. thope to see you again soon.. whoa, whoa, i got this. just gotta get the check. almost there. i can't reach it. if you have alligator arms, you avoid picking up the check. what? it's what you do. i got this. thanks, dennis! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. growwwlph. it's what you do. oh that is good crispy duck.
7:41 pm
and there's one more thing, with our time on palmyra almost up, we were afraid our last adventure would get washed out. then the sun came out, saving one of our most anticipated explorations. these are clothes i bought new in new york and then froze in a plastic bag, brought here, because the place we're going is so sensitive, so restricted they want to make sure we don't bring anything with us that could be invasive. clad in our once frozen clothes we head to a place called the milky way. since there are no more rats in palmyra tiny fiddler crabs thrive here. why are they important in the big, big picture of things? >> these crabs are the energy source for the shore birds that fly here all the way from alaska and they provide food, the
7:42 pm
snickers bars of the wilderness for those shore bird. >> reporter: it started to pour again. did we mention it rains 200 inches a year here, but no way were we going to miss the coconut crabs. >> take a look at this. in this whole ecosystem here, all of palmyra, why is this one place important? >> throughout the entire island we have the highest density of coconut crabs found on palmyra. they can be blue, red, they look like a spider on steroids and they are docile and gentle. they are very slow moving. >> perhaps because some are down right massive. >> how big is this thing. >> >> this is one of the few places in he world where coconut crabs are not harvested by humans. they are fully
7:43 pm
protected here at palmyra, which means they are able to live out their full life span and we know coconut crabs can live to be least 70 years old. >> reporter: no doubt they live a full, colorful life. >> is this paradise? >> you know, is this paradise? paradise, i'm not sure if paradise exists anymore. to be honest there's no place in the world that is untouched. to me paradise is a place that is complete li untouched. there's garbage on the beach. we have impacts of climate change and sea level rise happening here, but this is pretty close. it is obviously beautiful. it is teaming with life. it's a place of inspiration. it's as close as you can find to paradise i think these days. >> coming up up, candid, courageous. >> i set myself down a downward spiral. i had to get something under control. >> reporter: olympic
7:44 pm
champion michael phelps on his secret struggle sgll i've never ever heard you say the things you are saying right now. isn't that cool? now you can order, scan and unlock in game rewards based on "the angry birds movie," rated pg only in theaters. ugh! the door, why didn't we think of that? of bad breath germs% for a 100% fresh mouth. with breath so fresh, it's no wonder listerine® users feel ready enough to be in a magician's act. kill 99% of bad breath germs. feel 100% in life. bring out the bold™ school lunch can be difficult. cafeteria chaos. one little struggle... can lead to one monumental mishap. not with ziploc easy open tabs. because life needs ziploc.
7:45 pm
sc johnson. [ "dreams" by beck ] hmmmmm... hmmmmm... the turbocharged dream machine. the volkswagen golf gti. part of the award-winning golf family.
7:46 pm
7:47 pm
18 gold medals, more than an athlete, michael phelps is a phenomenon and now he's a father. fell and his fiance nicole just welcome addison named boomer. it is another life-changing event for the champ who's
7:48 pm
but through so many. tonight he opens up about a hard-fought victory not in the pool but in rehab. matt lauer joined him in arizona. >> i went in with no self confidence, no self love. >> i'm going to stop you there. it's going to be extraordinary for people at home thinking of the most decorated olympic athlete they have known saying i went in with no self confidence. >> at that point in my life i felt like a giant piece of -- >> you can say it. i'll bleep it. >> that's what i felt like. . i think the biggest thing was -- i thought of myself as just a swimmer and nobody else. >> he's won more olympic medals, 22, than anyone in history but for all of his conquests, michael phelps was privately dealing with inner demons. >> i don't know if it was afraid of letting go and showing who i
7:49 pm
am or what it was. i finally was just like screw this. i'm not hiding behind anything anymore. i am who i am. if you don't like it it's not my issue and not my problem. >> a new olympic record. >> reporter: most of the world first heard the name michael phelps at the 2004 athens games. >> michael phelps is the biggest name of the games. >> reporter: and the year i first interviewed him in his i career. to the 2012 london games. >> the end of an era. >> reporter: london was supposed to be his olympic swan song as he told me back then. >> i'm done. i'm finished. i'm retired. i'm done. no more. >> reporter: we're learning a the time phelps could barely stand swimming and his relationship with his coach bob bowman, someone he had trained
7:50 pm
with since he was 11 was often toxic. >> prior to london, was there ever a time you thought he wasn't going to go? >> yeah. i hoped he would. >> why? >> because i didn't want to go through this. i thought it was going to end really badly. >> reporter: bowman and phelps relationship had become like a dysfunctional married couple. the coach no longer wanted to deal with phelps defiant debehavior, like missing practices, a lot of them just before london, a fact they kept hidden from the public. >> let's go back to the days before london. >> i was rather surprised to pick up a copy of "sports illustrated" magazine and there you are on the cover. it told a story in the magazine about how in the months leading up to london you and bob were not getting along well and one time you had a brutal fight. >> a couple of them. >> he said we go at it. world war ii i. i smash my watch against the wall, i
7:51 pm
peel out of the parking lot an he flips me the bird and i flip him the bird and he doesn't come back for ten days. this is leading up to london, in the prime of the olympic games and you don't show up for ten days. what's going on? >> i didn't care. i honestly didn't care. >> he said he came back on day 11 because matt lauer was there to interview him for "the today show." >> yeah. >> they had no idea that's what our preparation was like for london. >> no one did. that's why when i say i almost got away with it. i. >> i remember talking to you about your training during that interview. you said it was going pretty well. >> i was from itty good at that. >> pretty good, he now admits at not telling the complete truth. what is surprising is he went on to win six medals in london, four gold, two silver. it turns out behind all of the glory, the amazing accomplishments was a person who didn't like
7:52 pm
himself. 100% i was lost. pushing a lot of people out of my life. people that i wanted and needed in my life. and was kind of running and running and escaping from whatever it was i was running from. >> reporter: everything seemed to come to a head on september 29th of 2014, phelps had been gambling and drinking that day at a casino in his hometown of baltimore driving home in a land rover, he illegally changed lanes inside the fort mchenry tunnel. police clocked him going 84 in a 45 mile an hour zone. >> i set myself down a downward spiral. i think it was more of a sign than anything else that i had to get something under control, whatever it was. i look back at that night and everything happened for a reason. i drove that way and if i ever go home i never go that route. >> a cry for help? >> i believe so, yeah. i really do.
7:53 pm
>> phelps was arrested for dui. it was his second time for the same offense. soon after he was released from jail, phelps retreated to his bedroom for four days. >> i was lowest place i have ever been. honestly, at one point i just felt like i didn't want to see another day. i felt like it should be over. >> after some tough love from family and friends, phelps snapped out of those dark thoughts and checked himself in to the meadows, a rehab clinic in arizona. >> first couple of nights were brutal. i probably cried myself to sleep for four or five days. >> in listening to and reading some of the things people closest to you have said about that incident, nobody uses the words alcoholic or drinking problem. so are you an alcoholic? >> i don't know. i would say binge more than anything else. >> so a drinking problem. >> no. i mean you can put a beer or alcoholic
7:54 pm
drink in front of me and i won't feel the urge to drink it. >> you checked yourself in to the meadows for 45 days. you said you don't know if you are an alcoholic, maybe have a bing problem. did you check yourself in to treatment because you had a drinking problem or public relations problem. >> i check myself in because i thought something in my life needed to change and i needed to figure things out. >> reporter: in rehab therapy he dealt with a major issue in his life, his dad. his parents divorced when he was 9. he was raised by his mom debbie, a familiar face pool side. as for his dad, fred, a retired maryland state trooper, phelps said he didn't see much of him over the last 20 years. >> one of the biggest things i was able to overcome is the feeling of abandoned by my father and i was a kid that always wanted a family. whether our parents are together or not, i still wanted a mom and dad.
7:55 pm
i never had that for so long. >> reporter: phelps said there was a breakthrough in the relationship when his dad accepted an invitation to visit him in rehab. >> to show he wanted to be in my life to that feeling i had of feeling abandoned and avoided maybe was a misunderstanding we learned about each other in that visit than the past 20 years. >> what is extraordinary about you, michael, i have known you a long time. i have asked you about your dad in four or five interviews. >> i dodged it every time. >> usually with a partial answer. i've never heard you say the things you are saying now. >> i'm comfortable about it. i'm more laid back, are laxed and open. >> reporter: after rehab, phelps received a suspended one year jail sentence. he said he hasn't had a drink since october of 2014. phelps is now turning his life around and surprised many by
7:56 pm
coming out of retirement for one more olympics, his fifth. >> what was the phone call like when you called your mom and said i'm going to rio? >> tears. instant tears. >> she was so happy. >> there's been a recent change in his personal life. just ten days ago he and his fiance had a baby boy, nicole johnson, a former miss california gave birth to six pound, 12 ounce boomer robert phelps. the middle name is in honor of his coach bob. phelps told me before the birth he was nervous about being a new father. >> i was like, i don't know how to act. i'm excited but i don't know what to do. and i've had a couple of friends who had friends the last couple of years and i think the one thing that every single one says is that it is the best thing that will ever happen in your life. >> reporter: now preparing for that other major thing in his life,s the rio olympic games, phelps is currently training a arizona state.
7:57 pm
he said he is in the best shape in nearly a decade and this time around he says he wants to be in the pool and who's by his side? >> let's go! >> reporter: his long-time coach. >> we all go back a long way. i'm shocked. >> yeah. >> he's like a completely different person. >> absolutely. physically, mentally, emotionally, in all of the areas. >> how does that impact your relationship? >> makes my life awesome because he comes to practice every day. it is all about the swimming now. phelps says he's having fun both in and out of the pool. he even participated in a arizona's state curtain of distraction, stripping down to distract an opposing players free throw. >> getting his college experience. >> he will be 31 in rio and says no matter what this is definitely, absolutely his last olympics. >> you have goals. you always do. you are famous for those and famous for
7:58 pm
never sharing -- >> don't waste a question. >> i'm not going to waste it. would it be nice for you to become the oldest swimmer to win a gold medal. >> obviously it would be nice. >> would it be nice to be the first swimmer to win a gold medal 12 years apart. >> pretty cool. >> out of rio, what's realistic? >> there's a number in my head. >> if you don't hit the number, will you be able to look at me and say i went out the way i79ed to go out? >> yeah, because i'm giving an honest effort. i'm having fun again. this is something that that i haven't had in a long time. it is just like, i'm going out and enjoying myself every day. i feel like a high school kid again. >> coming up -- >> i would buy a airplane. >> a big stuffed animal. >> what would you do with this past eke week's eye-popping powerball jackpot? >> buy a big screen tv. >> big dreams from the little ones at the
7:59 pm
kids' table. words no one even knows.
8:00 pm
but everyone knows cheese. cracker barrel has won awards for their delicious cheddar and they put that cheddar in a new macaroni & cheese. can you spell delicious? delicious. d. e. l... stretchable, scrubby texture and to a subway to prove our cloth-like durability can clean more than just spills. stif it works here, imagine howd twell viva will unleashr clean in your home.

429 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on