Since Bob Costas' infected eyes had become one of the most talked-about stories of the Sochi Games, viewers tuning in for Costas' return Monday during NBC's primetime coverage were itching to see how he looked and what he said.
Right out of the gate, he deadpanned: "I'm Bob Costas, sitting in tonight for Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira." They, of course, filled in for Costas since last Tuesday. He showed up on the first night of coverage with what looked like pinkeye in his left eye. He said it was supposed to get better in a few days, but it only got worse and forced him to the sidelines a few days later. That ended his streak of 157 primetime Olympic broadcasts going back to 1988.
His eyes looked better Monday — thanks to SB Nation for the picture — but not 100-percent healed, as NBC had acknowledged prior to his return. He apologized to viewers for his "ill-timed affliction" and thanked them for all the well wishes. People watching at home obviously cared about Costas' health, considering how full the Fourth-Place Medal inboxes were with at-home remedies and old wives' tales you wanted passed on to Costas.
[ Related: Bob Costas eye chart ]
Here's Costas' entire welcome-back speech, thanks to Deadline.com:
Sincere thanks to Matt Laurer 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 broadcasters ill-timed affliction getting in the way, even for just a few moments, for what we all came here for — the Olympic Games.
Oh, Bob, it's OK. People of the Internet already know what's going to happen during the primetime broadcasts anyway. So the Bob Costas Eye Watch gave us another thing to look forward to each night. And, yes, we'll keep monitoring those eyes until the Sochi Games are over.
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