Since 1992, Bob Costas has served as NBC News’s primetime anchor for the Olympics. He’s covered 11 Olympic Games- from Sochi to Rio de Janeiro- and he’s clearly served the network well, being sent back year after year.
But on Thursday morning, Costas sat down with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show and announced that he’s “passing off the torch” to Mike Tirico—a broadcaster who recently moved from ESPN to NBC and attended his first Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Image Credit: Getty Images/Ilya S. Savenok
Tirico is set to commence his primetime role as NBC’s Olympic anchor at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Costas said that although he has immensely enjoyed his time covering the Olympics, he has full faith in Tirico:
Image Credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller
“I’m going to be like the rest of the country, watching Mike Tirico, who will be an able successor in Korea for the Winter Olympics beginning a year from today.”
And aside from both covering the Olympic Games for NBC, the two share much more in common. Tirico told Lauer that many of his life decisions were influenced by Costas:
“I went to Syracuse in large part for college because Bob did. I received a Bob Costas scholarship 30 years ago.”
Costas told the New York Times that his contract with NBC permitted him to choose when he would step down from covering the games, and that he would have continued to fill the role if they hadn’t found someone like Tirico.Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube
He also told the NYT that when deciding which Olympics would be his last, the Rio games seemed to offer the perfect balance of closure and new beginnings:
“Rio had some capstone moments. 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.”
When Lauer asked him what his favorite Olympic moment throughout the 25 years of covering the event was, Costas gave the answer that many Americans would most likely agree with:
“I always go with Muhammad Ali lighting the torch in 1996 in Atlanta because it stands alone.
When he stepped out of the shadows and Janet Evans handed him that torch and you saw him trembling that way, somehow even in that condition, he was just as charismatic and magnetic as he’d ever been.”
Costas is looking forward to a lighter schedule with NBC in order to have more time to call baseball games for the MLB network, host round-table shows, and narrate documentaries.
However, he will be called on for guest appearances in the anchor role—similar to Tom Brokaw’s role with NBC News.Image Credit: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown
Costas is also scheduled to host next year’s Super Bowl, as Tircio will be covering the Winter Games in South Korea.
And as Tirico said in his statement, Costas’s mark on American history and the Olympic Games will forever be remembered, but the country can look to his future, special appearances as a testament to his extraordinary journalism.