updated 7/16/2008 7:40:40 PM ET 2008-07-16T23:40:40

Bob Costas will be back in Beijing for his seventh Olympics as prime-time host of NBC's coverage, but this time he'll be getting out a little more.

NBC announced its roster of announcers and commentators Wednesday for the games, which begin Aug. 6. NBC's 106 on-air announcers have won 42 Olympic medals among them, including 25 gold medals.

Costas will be leaving the studio to appear more at Olympics venues, an approach tested out this summer when he was at U.S. Olympics trials for swimming and gymnastics, said NBC Sports spokesman Brian Walker. It will give viewers a better sense of place, he said.

"Having your signature Olympics voice at the big events makes a lot of sense," he said.

Viewers and critics were interested in seeing something other than a studio-bound Costas who, during one Winter Olympics, was seated in front of a fake roaring fireplace.

NBC's roster includes a mix of old and new. Jim Lampley, who will anchor NBC's afternoon telecasts, is working his 14th Olympic games. Meanwhile, 2000 Olympics gold medalist Rulon Gardner is among NBC's additions, working as a commentator for the wrestling competition with play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin.

Famed gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi is also joining NBC's team as a commentator in his sport.

Cris Collinsworth, Costas' partner on Sunday night football, will join the Olympics crew as a roving correspondent. Mary Carillo, who will host NBC's late-night coverage, is doing segments introducing U.S. residents to Chinese culture. Essayist Jimmy Roberts will be back to fill a similar role.

Former ESPN voice Bill Patrick will make his debut as Olympic host, working on the MSNBC telecasts.

Former pro hockey player Bill Clement will be play-by-play announcer for table tennis, an event NBC believes may be a breakout sport in the games. Clement, a former badminton champion in Canada, will be an analyst for that sport, and also announce coverage of shooting events.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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