Bob Costas remains on the disabled list, and Matt Lauer will once again get the start for NBC in its primetime Olympic coverage.
Costas' eye infection has been one of the prime stories of the first week of the Sochi Games, and obviously was not improved by taking a night off on Tuesday. Costas had anchored a remarkable 157 consecutive Olympics telecasts dating back to 1988. Ever the baseball historian, Costas compared Lauer's appearance to retired Yankee reliever Mariano Rivera. He'd better hope that another Yankee reference, to Lou Gehrig supplanting Wally Pipp and playing for more than 2,100 consecutive games, doesn't come to pass.
"I just feel bad for him," Lauer told TODAY.com. "He looks forward to these Games for so long, and he's the best that's ever done it. If he could be in that seat, he'd be in that seat." On a local Colorado telecast, Lauer jokingly blamed Russian president Vladimir Putin for infecting Costas.
"As a practical matter, I simply couldn’t do my job because my eyes had become so blurry, watery and sensitive to light,” Costas said in a statement on Tuesday. “I’m hopeful the symptoms will improve in the next couple of days and I can return to the broadcast. Also, the last thing I want is to go through the rest of my life owing Matt Lauer a bunch of favors.”
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