Bob Costas has stepped down as NBC’s prime-time Olympics host, this after 24 years of service. Costas, 64, will pass the torch to Mike Tirico, who will take over beginning with the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Tirico, 50, is one of the best play-by-play voices in the business.
“I always think that you can do either play-by-play or hosting really well,” Broadcasting Hall of Famer Dick Stockton said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Mike Tirico has the ability to do both, and that’s a rarity in this world.”
Costas, who served as prime-time host for 11 different Games, is considered by some the greatest voice in Olympic history. Costas, however, gives the nod to Jim McKay.
“I think he set the tone at ABC Sports when Roone Arledge was the boss there and they had all of the Olympic games,” Stockton said. “Jim McKay was great. What made Jim great was he was natural. He would stumble over words and he would say, ‘Where we going now? Oh, figure skating is coming up.’ And people identified with him. Jim McKay wasn’t slick, but he was everyman. And as he said, ‘When I do an Olympics, I am talking to my wife at home. I am talking to one person.’ Lately when I’ve been doing broadcasting, I’m talking to Jamie, my wife. She’s the audience. And when you talk to one person, you really connect – as opposed to thinking you’re talking to millions of people out there.
“But I think it’s a very tough job,” Stockton continued. “I love what those guys do. I really relish the job that Jim McKay has done, that Bob Costas has done, and I’ll tell you: Mike Tirico is a natural.”