It’s no secret that I have been fawning over Bela Karolyi these Olympics. I think he’s fun, boisterous and genuinely loves the Sport he covers. He’s gotten some criticism for rooting for the Americans too much and he and Costas addressed that in a phone interview with The New York Times….

“I think people are getting a kick out of him,” Costas said by telephone early Sunday. “He’s provocative and entertaining. What else do you want?”

Karolyi is the only partner Costas has ever worked with, in a studio or at a game, about whom Costas reminds viewers, jokingly, about his lack of objectivity.

“I believe I try very hard not to go overboard or to step overboard,” Karolyi said, on the phone with Costas after the Tuesday night prime-time show ended. “But I must clear the air. You can’t let injustices go unnoticed. You have to fight. You have to take a stand.”

And when Liukin was performing her floor exercise during the individual all-round, Costas introduced video of Karolyi’s reactions as he watched the routine. NBC has not shown any other video like it, but Costas said there have been more moments of subjective, off-air reaction. “I’ve got the bruises,” he said. “He’s a hugger. He gives you the fist in the elbow or in the shoulder.”

If Karolyi were not working for NBC, how would he react? “I’d elbow the television set,” Karolyi said. “That would be my best friend.”

Again, I see nothing wrong with the way that he’s been covering the Games as an American for an American network. Somebody seriously needs to add Bela to other sports throughout the year. I know one guy at NBC he could replace for Sunday Night Football this very year!

Karolyi Puts the Color in Color Commentary (NY Times)