Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir's Expertise (And Fashion Sense) Land Them Top Figure Skating Spot for NBC

Pam WrightLife

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Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski have been promoted from their secondary roles to become the top figure skating broadcast team for NBC.

After attracting attention for their rapport and fashion sense at the Sochi Olympics, NBC announced on Wednesday that the duo would be the commentators for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, making the former Olympians TV's most visible personalities of the games.

They'll start their new gig alongside play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon on Sunday during NBC's telecast of the Skate America competition.

Weir and Lipinski became an instant sensation in Sochi last winter, when they announced live daytime broadcasts with Gannon on NBC Sports' cable network. Weir, in particular, drew a large fan-following as many viewers tuned in to see what crazy outfit he would be wearing.

''We absolutely cherish this opportunity to bring figure skating to people,'' Weir said. ''When we talk it is more like a conversation between us and the audience.''

The three are replacing Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tom Hammond, who were NBC's lead figure skating announcers at four Olympics starting in 2002.

Hamilton, a 1984 gold medalist who called three other Winter Olympics for CBS, will remain as a special contributor to NBC at big figure skating events, including the Olympics in South Korea.

''We take skating very seriously,'' Lipinski said, ''but at the same time you really want to be real about what the sport is. If you call it as you see it, I think that is what the audience likes, and Johnny and I have to keep on that path.''

After the Olympics, three-time U.S. figure skating champion Weir and 1998 Olympic gold medal-winner Lipinski also became a part of the fashion coverage for the Academy Awards and the Kentucky Derby.

''Any additional events are just icing on the cake,'' said Lipinski.

Pam Wright