Can somebody please deliver some Visine to Bob Costas in Sochi, Russia?
The New York Times' Richard Sandomir reported that for the third night in a row, the veteran broadcaster will be absent on NBC's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Matt Lauer will be sitting in his place once again:
Bob Costas will be out again tonight. Matt Lauer returns for third night of pinch-anchoring.— Richard Sandomir (@RichSandomir) February 13, 2014
For those who haven't been monitoring social media and forming their conspiracy theories for the last week or so, Costas showed up on the opening night of Olympic coverage sporting a nasty-looking left eye. It was reddened, and he couldn't open it all the way.
Soon enough, the problem spread to both eyes, per Buzzer on Fox:
Eventually, things became bad enough that Costas couldn't go on any longer, and Lauer was brought in, thus ending the 61-year-old's streak of 157 straight prime-time appearances on NBC's Olympics coverage, per Sports Illusrated's Richard Deitsch.
Luckily, before he stepped away, Costas was able to treat fans to this awesome moment with Mary Carillo in which he downs some Russian vodka, per CJ Fogler:
All of this led some to wonder what was going wrong. What did Russia do to Bob Costas?
His son, Keith, tried to give an explanation during MLB Network's Hot Stove.
In the end, the truth was a little anticlimactic.
The broadcaster was merely suffering from an eye infection. As Sandomir reported:
“It was increasingly uncomfortable with each passing night, but I could cope with it,” (Costas) said. “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.”
On Tuesday, after waking up, he gingerly washed the eyes “to open them to a slit.”
He added: “You hear it called pinkeye or conjunctivitis, but, as a 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.”
This whole situation has been quite entertaining, and you have to commend Costas for trying to fight through it. He's an on-camera personality, and as such, he needs to maintain a pristine appearance.
Any time Costas has any sort of blemish, he's opening himself up to be parodied on social media, as he has over the last week. Yet he didn't care and welcomed us all to Sochi anyway. It demonstrates his professionalism and ability to laugh at himself a bit.
Although the longer this goes on, the more the jokes will fly, we can all agree that an Olympics with Costas is better than one without him.