Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert signs off of “The Colbert Report” on Thursday, ending an impressive run as one of TV’s most recognized hosts.
Colbert is also a friend to the Olympics, particularly to US Speedskating leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. He promoted US Speedskating on his show, and thanks to the Colbert Nation, helped the organization recoup funding when it lost a major sponsor, leaving a $300,000 hole.
Sports Illustrated put Colbert (in a skinsuit) on its cover for their efforts.
Colbert had Olympic medalist speed skaters including Joey Cheek, Dan Jansen and Katherine Reutter on his show. You may remember Colbert autographing Reutter’s thigh (video here) and racing Shani Davis (video here).
Colbert then traveled to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics as the assistant sports psychologist for the US Speedskating team.
“The players relate to me because I provided them with cash,” Colbert joked in an NBC Olympics interview with Bob Costas on the late-night broadcast on Feb. 17, 2010. “That’s not the kind of bond you can get by being competent.”
At the end of the interview, Colbert crawled into the fireplace on the NBC Olympics set in the international broadcast center.
Colbert also hosted his show from Vancouver and had Costas come on and ride a fake moose named “Ebersol.”
Colbert also was at the Richmond Olympic Oval for Davis’ victory in the 1000m. He spent part of his time in spectator seating reading an issue of “Cat Fancy” and “Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies” and spreading condiments on a sandwich with a skate blade.
Two nights later, a second Costas-Colbert interview aired on late night. Colbert was dressed in a full Mountie outfit. Colbert paid respect to a nation of people he previously called syrup-suckers, iceholes and Saskatchewiners and rode the moose, which by then had migrated to the NBC set and was renamed “Colbert.”
This year, Colbert had on Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White. He accused White of hair doping (video here).
A photographic look back at Colbert and the Olympics from Getty Images: