Bob Costas, the face of NBC Sports for decades, is stepping away from hosting the Olympics. Mike Tirico will take over. Costas made the surprise revelation on Thursday morning’s Today show.
"I am going to be like the rest of the country, watching Mike Tirico, who will be an able successor in Korea for the Winter Olympics” a year from now, Costas said.
Costas, who turns 65 next month, said he would remain with NBC Sports and appear when circumstances call for it, as Tom Brokaw does for NBC News.
"They’ve been kind enough --- and it’s an honor to even have your name in the same sentence --- they’ve been kind enough to call it the Brokaw phase of my career,” Costas said. “So I will be to sports what Tom has been for the last several years to news.”
Tirico, 50, also appeared on the show, where he said he attended Syracuse University on a Bob Costas scholarship. Costas said Tirico was the first recipient of the scholarship in his name.
Today host Matt Lauer called Costas the best TV host in Olympic history. Costas pushed back on that, mentioning Jim McKay, who hosted for ABC generations ago. “There’s 1 and 1A, and I think I’m 1A, because Jim McKay invented the role,” Costas said.
The Rio Games were Costas’ 11th as NBC’s prime-time host. He was also late-night host for 1988’s Seoul Summer Games. That means he has been an Olympic ringmaster in parts of four decades. He mused before the Rio Games that if he stayed on through the 2020 Summer Games that he’d be a five-decade man.
"'But that’s not reason enough to do it,” he told USA TODAY Sports at the time. “I’ve said — and I meant it — that I’m taking this case by case, one at a time, and see how we feel after this. But they’ve been nice enough — they being everybody at NBC — to say that it’s up to me. You know, ‘If you want to do one, two, three, four more, you can. If you want to stop after this one, you can. It’s your call.’
"So that’s very nice. I will not have to be escorted out. I’ll leave before they have to drop hints.”