2014 Sochi Olympics: NBC's Bob Costas Out with Eye Infection

NBC's Bob Costas will sit out at least one night of the network's prime-time coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to an eye infection. Matt Lauer of "The Today Show" will fill in for him.

Feb 11 2014, 8:01pm CST | by

2014 Sochi Olympics: NBC's Bob Costas Out with Eye Infection
Photo Credit: Getty Images

NBC analyst Bob Costas will sit out at least one prime-time coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to an eye infection. 

This is precisely what he told The Associated Press on Feb. 11: 

"With both eyes reddend by an infection, NBC's Bob Costas said Tuesday he will sit out the network's prime-time Olympics coverage for at least one night. 'Today' show anchor Matt Lauer will take his place in Sochi. 

"Costas has been wearing glasses since the start of the Sochi Olympics because of an infection in his left eye. On Monday's broadcast, it was apparent the infection had spread to his other eye. It quickly became the topic of conversation on social media and sports talk radio. 

"Costas said he simply couldn't do the job because his eyes had become blurry, watery and sensitive to light. 'I'm walking around, I might as well be playing 'Marco Polo,' he said in a telephone call to the 'Today' show Tuesday. 'I have no idea where I am.'

"He said it's a viral infection that has to run its course, and he hopes things improve enough in the next few days so he can return to the broadcast."

Richard Sandomir of The New York Times also interviewed Costas on Feb. 11 to get more specifics from him.

"Both eyes were red and angry on Sunday and Monday. 

"It was increasingly uncomfortable with each passing night, but I could cope with it. But last night until today, it got to where I couldn't look in the bathroom light without squinting and blinking and my eye watering. 

"You hear it called pinkeye or conjunctivitis, but, as practical matter, I haven't had it before. You have swelling and stinging and burning and eventually tearing. And last night was the most difficult night of the five. But when I left, I fully expected to be back tonight."

Costas spoke with Lauer by phone in a live broadcast of the "Today Show" on Feb. 11 and likened Lauer's situation to former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. 

"Reluctantly, I was trying to throw a complete game here, but I think we're going to have to go to the bullpen, and I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but you're Mariano Rivera, at least tonight.

"Just remember, Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. There's your Russian dancing pair. After that, you're on your own."

For his part, Lauer told Today.com he feels bad for Costas. 

"I just feel bad for him. He looks forward to these games, and he's the best that's ever done it. If he could be in that seat, he'd be in that seat."

Costas' absence will break a streak of 157 consecutive Olympic prime-time games he's covered, per Sandomir. This streak began in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

The NBC sports analyst also told Sandomir the last time he remembers skipping a broadcast due to illness was during the 1990 AFC Championship Game between the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills when he suffered though a bout of food poisoning

 

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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

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