5:32pm PT by Philiana Ng
Sochi: Bob Costas Returns to NBC's Olympics Telecast After 'Ill-Timed Affliction'
Bob Costas made his Olympics return Monday night and it was business as usual, though he was nowhere near 100 percent.
“Welcome to NBC’s primetime coverage on this Monday. I’m Bob Costas, sitting in for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira," the longtime Olympics host said at the top of the 8 p.m. ET hour, his self-deprecating humor seeping through.
Moments later, Costas thanked Lauer and Vieira, whom he called "true pros" for sitting in on the telecast as he was recovering from infections in both eyes. Costas last signed off Feb. 10.
"Before we step aside for just a second here, my sincere thanks to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira -- two friends and true pros who stepped in for me on short notice. My thanks as well to all of you who expressed your concern, and my apologies to everyone for the unavoidable but uncomfortable circumstance of a broadcaster's ill-timed affliction getting in the way -- even for just a few moments -- for what we all came here for...the Olympic Games."
In a conference call with reporters Monday, Costas addressed his unforeseen hiatus from the Olympics telecast, saying that though the redness in his eyes has gone down, had he stayed away until he was fully recovered the Games would be over.
"As people will see tonight, there's still some redness there," he said prior to the broadcast. "They're less than what they used to be. I'll be able to function.…It won't have any effect on what I do. It won't look as bad as what it did the last night on the air. It probably will look better in 10 days, but the Olympics will be over."
There was a slim chance that Costas could have sat out the rest of the Olympics. "There was a point, three or four days ago, where I thought there was a 10 percent chance that this might happen," he said on the call. "I always thought it was likely that I would be back today."
Before Costas was sidelined, he had an impressive streak of leading 157 consecutive Olympics telecasts.