Mike Tirico has Olympic-sized shoes to fill.
The veteran sportscaster, who spent 25 years at ESPN before being hired by NBC last year, will be taking over for Bob Costas as the prime-time broadcast host of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
For Tirico, hosting the broadcast from Pyeongchang was a dream job that he didn’t expect, but one he gladly accepts.
“Nothing brings families or our country or the world together like the Olympic Games,” Tirico said.
Tirico has reported on the NFL, the NBA, golf and the FIFA World Cup through his storied career.
Other than their extensive careers in sports broadcasting, Tirico and Costas have a lot in common. Both hail from Queens, New York, and both are alumni of Syracuse University, where Tirico was the first recipient of the Bob Costas scholarship.
“I went to Syracuse, in large part ... because Bob did,” Tirico said in February on “Today,” adding, “I received the Bob Costas scholarship, 30 years ago.”
As primetime host, Tirico will introduce Olympic events, conduct on-air interviews and provide context about winter sports to viewers at home. The Pyeongchang Games will be broadcast Feb. 8 to Feb. 25 on NBC.
“You’re coming to watch sports on TV for the competition. You’re coming to see team against team, player against player and, in some cases, country against country,” he said. “I am going to bring what I love to do the most and that is tell stories about athletes.”
Tirico only has positive things to say about Costas and his decadeslong career in the field.
“Bob Costas is as good as it ever will get in this business,” Tirico said. “You don’t replace Bob Costas, you follow him. He is a legend, he’s a friend, he’s been incredibly supportive of my opportunity in doing this.”
Costas is looking forward to watching Tirico take over for him during the games.
“I am going to be like the rest of the country, watching Mike Tirico, who will be an able successor in Korea for the Winter Olympics,” he told “Today’s” Matt Lauer.
The Olympic coverage won’t be Tirico’s first high-profile gig with NBC. Earlier this year, he began hosting NBC’s Triple Crown horse racing coverage, taking over for longtime host Tom Hammond.
"As I embark on a less demanding schedule at NBC, I can rest assured that the coverage of Thoroughbred racing is in good hands," Hammond said in April. "The sport is very close to my heart, so I am pleased that Mike, a highly accomplished professional, will asume the role as leader of the superb NBC horse racing team."