Bob Costas, the central voice of NBC’s Olympics coverage for a quarter-century, is leaving the host’s seat. Mike Tirico will take over as host of NBC’s Olympics programming starting next year with the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Costas is also reducing his role in several other NBC sports endeavors, including NFL football and the Triple Crown.
“It just felt to me like the right time and it’s felt like the right time for a while,” Costas told the New York Times. “This was a good time to step away, while I could still do it.”
Costas hosted the Olympics for 24 years. NBC itself has broadcast every Summer Olympics since 1988, and every Winter Olympics since 2002. The network also holds the rights to every Olympics going forward through 2032.
Prior to last year’s Rio Games, Costas decided that he would step down, and Rio provided a suitable endpoint from a narrative perspective. “Rio had some capstone moments,” he said. “Michael Phelps was finishing off. So was Usain Bolt. And Simone Biles was emerging. It had moments that felt like closure to me, and this felt like a good time to step aside.” Costas was able to go out on a high note after an awkward Sochi Games in which an eye infection sidelined him for several days. Costas noted that the demands of the job have changed significantly in recent years, with less space available for commentary and more time needed for quick, immediate updates.
Costas will also step away from the hosting desk at NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and will scale back his coverage of the Triple Crown and other events. He’ll take on more of an elder statesman role, commenting on major events and significant breaking news.
This marks the latest in a string of high-profile announcers departing their longtime posts. Verne Lundquist, Vin Scully, Brent Musburger, and Chris Berman have all stepped away from the microphone in recent months.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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