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Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Tanith Belbin join NBC Olympics coverage

Oct 23, 2013, 9:11 AM EDT

Johnny Weir Getty Images

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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  1. odirony - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    I would normally follow the Olympics very closely. This year, however, I won’t be watching. I cannot in good conscience support an endeavor held in a country promoting such blatant violations of human rights. Russia’s dismal record on human rights in general, its oppression of free speech (such as the Pussy Riots prosecutions) and vilification of sexual minorities (the open violence and government persecution of gays) would make any endorsement of the Olympics hypocritical and a tacit support of the Russian government’s policies. Sorry, NBC and sponsors, this Olympic season will be a losing proposition for all involved.

  2. Skaterbabs - Oct 23, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Reblogged this on Skaterbabs' tips for on the ice and off. and commented:
    Looking forward to seeing the competition!

  3. Randy - Oct 24, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    I’m somewhat disappointed. But Weir does have an opportunity not merely to be a helpful lapdog in Russia, but to use his publicity to help gay youth there — the people most harmed by Russia’s laws and anti-gay atmosphere. After all, many of them don’t even get to worry about the Olympics, because they are simply trying to make it through the day without being catfished, and then beaten and having urine dumped over their heads by thugs who act with impunity, and public approval. I think that’s a little more important than some skating, or nationalism, but then I have a heart. Silly me.

  4. watermelon1 - Oct 24, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    While I absolutely hate hearing ANY commentator talk during the skating programs(it takes so much away from the actual skating)… I’m just glad we can hear anyone’s voice not named dick button. That guy is horrible.

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