“There’s reason to believe that a year from now, the situation would be more under control,” says NBC Olympics legend Bob Costas.
The sportscaster, who holds an unbelievable 29 Emmys wins as Colbert points out, was synonymous with the Olympic games from decades. While he’s moved on from NBC’s coverage, Costas remains emotionally involved in the games. And it’s emotion specifically that he’s worried the 2020 games will lack completely.
No spectators. No “cultural exchange,” as Bob puts it – and all quarantine, instead. Through this, the Tokyo Summer Olympics will be like none in modern history. And while the Olympic Committee “isn’t ruling out” the possibility of cancellation, Costas thinks “they’re full speed ahead unless we hit a complete disaster,” he tells Colbert.
“Every athlete draws some sort of adrenaline and emotion from an audience,” he adds. “That’s especially true at the Olympics, which are more about emotion than most sports events are.”
Former Olympics commentator Bob Costas weighs in on what an Olympics without fans will be like to watch on TV, and how it will impact the athletes. You can see Bob Costas on “Back On The Record With Bob Costas” on HBOThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Bob Costas: 2020 Olympics will be ‘Beyond Unusual’
“I realize the variants have added a different aspect to it, but there’s reason to believe that a year from now, the situation would be more under control,” he continues on The Late Show Wednesday night.
“You could have spectators in the stands; a larger percentage of the Japanese populace would be vaccinated. So, that would have been ideal,” the veteran host details.
To Costas, who hosted the Olympics for NBC from 1988 to 2016, the delay would not only be sensical – but a return to tradition, as well. “It would have gone back to the old model where the Winter and Summer Olympics were the same year,” he says.
All in all, Costas believes a pandemic-laden Olympics will feel “beyond usual… Weird,” even, he admits. Though, honestly, what hasn’t felt this way the past two years? But these setbacks – and the reality of the remaining situation in 2021 – do go against nearly everything the Olympics are held to celebrate.
“Part of the Olympics is the travelogue, the cultural panorama, the cultural exchange between athletes for more than 200 different nations,” Costas clarifies for The Late Show. “All that’s out the window,” he gestures.
For 2021, all athletes will be “in effect, quarantined… And once your event is over, you’ve got five days to clear out of Japan and go home. So you don’t stick around for the closing ceremony, whatever that closing ceremony might be,” he laments.
In the meantime, even the oysters in Japan are revolting against the Summer Olympics. Regardless of what’s best, time is running out to make the call.