Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Tanith Belbin join NBC Olympics coverage
Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir, Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin will join NBC Olympics for its coverage through the Sochi Winter Games.
Weir, who announced his retirement Wednesday, and Lipinski will serve as figure skating analysts for NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage. Belbin will report for NBC Olympics’ Sports Desk and “The Olympic Zone” program.
Weir, noted enthusiast of all things Russian, won’t be competing at the Olympics for the first time since 2002. He’s a three-time national champion and 2008 World Championships bronze medalist.
“I get old,” Weir said on “TODAY.” “I have to say thank you and goodbye. ... It’ll be hard not to be out there, and I’ll probably still get sick to my stomach and nervous and go through all the emotions of a competitor. But I’ll be able to support these young skaters and really teach the world what’s going on out there.”
Weir finished fifth at the 2006 Olympics and sixth at the 2010 Olympics.
Weir, 29, could be covering two of his biggest rivals in Sochi -- 2006 Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko and 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek.
He has covered figure skating for Universal Sports in the past and is no stranger to TV, having starred in his own reality show, “Be Good Johnny Weir.”
Weir, who announced he was gay in January 2011, also commented on Russia’s anti-gay law.
“While this law is a terrible thing that you can’t be gay publicly in Russia, I plan to be there in full support of our brothers and sisters there and not be afraid,” Weir said. “If I get arrested, I get arrested. If not, not, great, but our presence is needed. For all the Olympians that worked so hard, a boycott is the worst thing you can do to these young people.”
Lipinski, who became the youngest individual gold medalist in Olympic Winter Games history at 15 in 1998, also has worked for Universal Sports’ figure skating coverage.
Weir and Lipinski will appear on NBC’s coverage of Skate Canada on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Belbin, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist in ice dancing with Ben Agosto, will present features for “The Olympic Zone,” a 30-minute daily show for NBC affiliates covering all aspects of the Games.
“Johnny, Tara and Tanith have entertained judges and fans alike with their skill, style and charisma,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “We’re confident those same characteristics will entertain Olympic viewers this February.”
Figure skating at the Sochi Olympics will begin Feb. 6, the night before the Opening Ceremony with the start of the new team competition.