NEW YORK (AP) _ Broadcaster Keith Olbermann will anchor much of NBC Sports' cable coverage of the Olympics from Athens next year.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports and Olympics, said on Tuesday that Olbermann would serve as host of MSNBC's weekday coverage and CNBC's weekend coverage of the 2004 Games.

NBC will have 800 hours of Olympic coverage, 600 of it on cable. Ebersol said he had pursued Olbermann since last fall.

``It's a particular delight to announce that Keith is coming back,'' he said. ``We're thrilled to have him. Keith will have an extra large role.''

For Olbermann, the Olympic assignment is a return to NBC. He worked at the network in 1997-98 before leaving for Fox Sports, when NBC let him out of his contract. As part of that deal, Fox paid NBC $1 million.

``This is a second chance for me,'' Olbermann said. ``There's not much more you can ask for than that.''

Olbermann has also worked at ESPN and CNN, and currently does two sports shows each day for ABC Radio in a contract that extends until 2005.

``I've only attended one Olympics, 1980 at Lake Placid,'' he said. ``I'm told things have changed. This is the grand stage. This is what I wanted to do.''

Ebersol said Bob Costas would anchor the network coverage from Athens and that he was in negotiations with broadcasters Jim Lampley and Pat O'Brien. Lampley would work with Costas and O'Brien with Olbermann.