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.