Daily Archives: February 12, 2018

How Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski Became the Most Iconic Duo in Figure Skating

GQ: Rarely do a sport’s broadcasters outshine its stars. But Olympic figure skating’s very sparkly Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski (quite literally) do.

Four years ago, NBC paired the two former Olympic skaters with Terry Gannon to be Sochi’s second team of figure-skating commentators. Through some cocktail of flash, chemistry, and pure energy, Weir and Lipinski became the Internet’s darlings—the main draw of a sport that lacks the crown-jewel-of-the-Winter-Olympics luster it once had—and, most importantly, each other’s best friend.

“It’s so rare in this life to find a friend that you could actually call a true friend, someone you could put down as your In Case of Emergency, or somebody that would be the godmother or godfather of your first-born,” says Weir. “Especially coming from this very cutthroat and backstabbing sort of world that Tara and I come from.”

So effective were the emergency contacts/soulmates that, for this Pyeongchang go-round, NBC has moved them into the primetime slot. There, they’ve maintained their signature commentating style: a Gladwell-ian ability to demystify figure skating for the uninitiated and an extreme candor for which they’ve caught some heat. The outfits and social-media game remain strong as well.

When we spoke with them last week (mostly about getting dressed), they were coping with not being in adjoining hotel rooms—”There’s this very long mirror where the adjoining door should be,” says Lipinski, “and I think about it all day long. Why didn’t they just make the mirror a door?!”—relived their one disagreement, and explained what it’s like to roll up to the airport with enough luggage to dress an entire Olympic village.

Read the full interview here.

Photo courtesy of Tara Lipinski on Instagram.

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VIDEO — Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir’s Valentine’s Day Advice

NBC Philadelphia: NBC Sports figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir have some sage advice about Valentine’s Day cards and gifts.

For best viewing results, tap/click to watch video in full screen. If the video won’t play, please watch on NBC Philadelphia’s website.

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VIDEO — Figure Skating Superfan Molly Yeh Interviews Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir

Olympic Channel: Dreams really do come true! Food blogger Molly Yeh talks travel snacks, celebration meals, and more with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.

Tap/click here or on the photo to launch the video.

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Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir Are Ready to Rule the Winter Olympics Again

Bleacher Report: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir have had such instant impact as figure skating analysts for NBC that it’s easy to forget the two broadcasting rookies were no more than a B team when they stole the show at the Sochi Olympics four years ago.

NBC had promised to air all of the figure skating live, and because of the time difference between the U.S. and Russia, the network needed a daytime crew. Those backups would handle the live action at midday, while the regular crew put together the prime-time package.

Little did anyone realize that NBC was about to hit the broadcasting lottery.

They had instant comedic harmony, with their casual chatter and humorous asides playing amazingly well against the staunch and exacting backdrop of figure skating, where obsessive coaches and choreographers leave no detail to chance.

They also had a great bottom line, generating the 10 best weekday daytime audiences in the network’s history. That performance earned a promotion to prime time for this month’s Pyeongchang Olympics.

“Some commentators stand on opposite sides of the booth, and they don’t even look at each other,” Weir says disdainfully. “Tara and I sit in each other’s laps.”

It’s safe to say Weir is the only Olympic analyst to show up for work wearing a hot pink Chanel blazer. But he readily admits his broadcasting style is a knockoff of how Dick Button famously critiqued the sport for a half-century. As a competitor, Weir was always filled with reverence and fear as he waited to hear Button’s reviews.

“I have so much respect for him, but he could get snarky, and he could get nasty,” Weir says. “And it would hit you right in the heart, because you want a little softness from the commentators that are calling the most important moments of your life.

“But if you weren’t good, Dick wasn’t going to give you the softness you were looking for. He was keeping it real and honest about the mistakes you made, and what was ugly and what was beautiful. I try and do the same thing.”

Read the full interview here.

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir at the 2018 Winter Olympics figure skating Team Event in PyeongChang.

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