Af­ter 11 Olympics, Costas passes the torch to Tirico

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ERIK BRADY

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. Tirico will also han­dle host­ing du­ties on “Foot­ball Night in Amer­ica,” ac­cord­ing to an email from the net­work to USA To­day. 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 honour 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.” Ac­cord­ing to USA To­day’s Chris­tine Bren­nan, Costas will host one more Su­per Bowl next year in Min­neapo­lis since Tirico will al­ready be in South Korea for the Win­ter Olympics. 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. “It is with a tremen­dous amount of pride that I can si­mul­ta­ne­ously ex­press our ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Bob’s stel­lar, record-set­ting run,” Mark Lazarus chair­per­son of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said in a state­ment, “while also feel­ing very lucky that we have some­one as tal­ented as Mike to take over as our new prime-time host.” 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.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Bob Costas at the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame Awards in 2014.

TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

Bob Costas be­fore the 1996 Olympics in At­lanta.

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