(L-R) Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir prepare for the start of the pair skating short program at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Feb. 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.
When NBC first asked Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir to commentate figure skating at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, they never dreamed it would turn into a new career path.
Now, fresh off their trip to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 — where the broadcasting duo received the honor of co-hosting the Closing Ceremony coverage — the two will head back to their home base, the ice rink. Starting Jan. 6, they’ll be covering the 2022 Toyota U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We’re so thankful that so many have invited us into their living rooms and allowed us to unfold these stories of these incredible athletes and go on the journey with them,” Weir said about their role for NBC.
Next month the three-time U.S. champion and Lipinski, his partner-in-primetime who won gold at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 at 15-years-old, will leave for Beijing for the Winter Olympics.
“We have front row seats to the best show in our sport, and we have the best time bringing it to our public,” Weir said.
But it’s a role he said they take seriously, especially in Beijing.
“We are going to be one of the few people that are going to be in the building that isn’t from China, or in the athlete’s bubble,” Weir said. “So we have a great responsibility not only to tell people what they’re seeing on the ice but to tell people about the experience of being over there.”
TeamUSA.org spoke with the two on the phone where they shared everything from their favorite experiences together to the skaters they think will come out on top at nationals.
What is the hardest part about your commentating job?
Lipinski: I feel it every time I'm in the booth to be the voice for these athletes and skaters, and we've been on their journey for years — and at an Olympic Games. If you have a casual fan that's just tuning in, you want to give them as much backstory and have them on the edge of their seats. And I think it's our responsibility to figure out how to story tell, educate, set up these skaters, and the competition in a compelling way. And it takes a lot of work and study. But at the end of the day, I'm doing it with my best friend and our partner in crime, Terry Gannon. I couldn't imagine not being in the booth with these two guys.
Weir: While every skater is a champion in their way — and everyone made the Olympics — we still have to tell people the truth as to why "Skater A" did not beat "Skater B." Sometimes that's hard because Tara and I have both been those skaters that didn't have their best day and lost the competition. As ex-athletes to tell that story and be quite blunt about it to explain why that person didn't win, it's hard to be the person to tell millions of Americans why somebody didn't win. So I think that's very difficult.