Bob Costas Hands Mike Tirico the NBC Olympic Host Role

why where is bob costas winter olympics 2018

Getty Bob Costas will not be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics on NBC.

Olympic fans are missing a familiar face as Bob Costas is not hosting the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang on NBC. According to NBC, it marks the first time Costas has not hosted the games since 1992, meaning Costas hosted 11 games during his streak. Mike Tirico, a familiar face to NFL and NBA fans, is hosting the games along with Katie Couric.

Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported Tirico was the first recipient of the Bob Costas Scholarship at Syracuse. Ourand reported the decision was Costas’s, and something he first brought up during his 2012 contract negotiations with NBC. The decision was made by Costas as a way to start slowing down his career. NBC Sports Chair Mark Lazarus spoke with The Sports Business Journal about Costas requesting to step back.

Costas said, ‘I’m good to go through Sochi and Rio and do everything that I’ve been doing. After Rio, let’s reassess.’ Fast forward to early in the fall before an “SNF” telecast this season, Costas told him that he decided to pass the torch. I said, ‘Are you sure? Why don’t you think about it a little bit,’ Lazarus said. He thought about it for another couple of weeks. We sat down again, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do.’

Costas also was not part of NBC’s 2018 Super Bowl coverage, a decision the announcer said was mutual. In an email to the Sports Business Journal, Costas explained he was relieved not be part of the network’s football coverage given the link between the game and brain trauma.

The decision was mutually agreeable, and not only do I not have a problem with it, I am actually happy about it. I have long had ambivalent feelings about football, so at this point, it’s better to leave the hosting to those who are more enthusiastic about it…I have been making the same points for several years, often on NBC. In halftime commentaries, interviews with Roger Goodell and other prominent NFL figures, appearances on CNN and elsewhere, I have addressed the issue of football and its undeniable connection to brain trauma many times. Why? Because the evidence is overwhelming and the effects are often devastating. It’s the elephant in the stadium at every game whether others choose to acknowledge it or not.

Lazarus noted Costas will still be a part of NBC’s big-event coverage, but would no longer be hosting. He does not appear to be doing any pre-taped interviews for the 2018 games.

“This is a great way to pass the torch from one iconic figure to someone [Tirico] who’s on his way to becoming an iconic figure in the sports broadcasting world,” Lazarus told The Sports Business Journal. “…[Costas will] have an on-going role around our big and iconic events, but in terms of day-to-day, he’s taking a step back as he heads towards slowing down his trajectory with us.”

During the last Winter Olympics, Costas fought through pink eye, and missed a few days of coverage while recovering.

“I’m not 100%, that’s for sure, but if I waited until I was 100%, the Olympics would be over,” Costas noted during a 2014 Today show appearance (via USA Today).