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Bob Costas to pass Olympic hosting torch to Mike Tirico

TODAY logo TODAY 2/9/2017 Scott Stump

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Bob Costas has passed the Olympic torch to Mike Tirico.

After serving as NBC's prime-time Olympic host since 1992, Costas is stepping down and handing duties over to Mike Tirico beginning with the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, NBC announced Thursday.

"It has been both a privilege and an incredible personal and professional experience to have been part of NBC's Olympic coverage all these years,'' Costas said in a statement. "I'm especially appreciative of all the talented and dedicated people I worked for and with on those broadcasts. I always felt that, in a certain sense, I was carrying the ball for them. It's been a wonderful run, but I just felt now was the right time to step away and I'm grateful that NBC left that decision to me."

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During his award-winning 25-year stint, Costas hosted 11 Olympics between the Summer and Winter Games. He's won 27 Emmy Awards, more than any sports broadcaster in history.

In his final Olympics in Rio de Janeiro last year, Costas fittingly covered the finale of several legendary Olympic careers, including swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt. He has been an Olympic fixture since making his debut at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

"Bob has long been the gold-standard of Olympic hosts," NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said in a statement. "We thank him for his unmatched work on the signature event in sports television, and we're thrilled to have Mike, with decades of big-event experience, on our team and excited to step in."

Costas, who has been with NBC for 37 years, will continue to serve in multiple roles with NBC Sports and NBC News.

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Tirico already has Olympic experience after serving as the daytime host for NBC's coverage of last year's Games in Rio.

Since coming over from ESPN to NBC in July 2016, Tirico also has served as host of Football Night in America, the U.S. Open and the Ryder Cup, as well as handling play-by-play duties for Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and Notre Dame football.

"The level and longevity of Bob's tenure have left an indelible mark on American television and the Olympic Games," Tirico said in a statement. "I am honored to call him a friend, humbled by this opportunity, and thankful to the many people who have helped make this possible."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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