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Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski ready to provide ‘cultural look’ inside Kentucky Derby

Apr 30, 2014, 8:51 AM EST

Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski AP

Johnny Weir‘s theme for his Kentucky Derby hat is Pegasus.

Weir and Sochi figure skating cohort Tara Lipinski have done their homework for their next assignment — fashion experts for this weekend at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Weir called it Kentucky’s version of New York’s Fashion Week.

“Tara and I will be providing sort of a cultural look inside the Kentucky Derby,” Weir said in a teleconference Tuesday. “There is something so lovely about Southern charm and sweet tea and fried green tomatoes and every movie we see with the debutantes and the huge dresses.”

Weir said their work will include pre-filmed spots for Saturday’s coverage (12-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-7 on NBC) as well as giving updates during the show and any necessary post-event follow-ups. NBCSN also has Kentucky Oaks coverage Friday from 3-6.

Weir and Lipinski both rode horses growing up in Pennsylvania and Texas, respectively. But they will bring a different flavor to the Run for the Roses.

“Like, ‘Oh, we saw Jay Z and Beyoncé sitting over there, and we sat on their laps and we sang to them and we enjoyed it,’” Weir offered as an example.

The retired skaters are working together for at least the third time since Sochi. They also covered the Academy Awards and the Best of U.S. Awards.

“We love working together and sharing our own special bit of moxie and sparkle with the world,” Weir said. “I personally would never tire of my little blond munchkin.”

They will be respectful of Derby fashion, even if it doesn’t always agree with their differing tastes. Lipinski said there won’t be a fashion police element to it.

“I’m sure we’ll have some distinct and very outspoken moments,” the 1998 Olympic champion said. “But at the same time, I don’t think it’s going to be catty.”

Weir said “a little birdie” gave him advice on which horse to pick — Danza, the Arkansas Derby winner named after the “Who’s the Boss?” star. Lipinski planned to have girlfriends over Tuesday to learn about the horses, after she spent the afternoon “in a sea of hats” getting fitted.

It will be Lipinski’s first Kentucky Derby and Weir’s second. Weir also went in 2010 and has learned from the experience, when he dressed for a slight chill and ended up sweating while meeting Tom BradyJerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn.

“It was not cute,” Weir said.

Weir is taking no chances on his return trip, consulting on hat selection with A-Morir’s Kerin Rose Gold, who he said also created fashion items for RihannaLady Gaga and Katy Perry.

“I obviously needed a custom hat, because I’m me,” Weir said. “My theme for the hat for the Derby day is Pegasus.

“I like to wear craziness at all costs, because that’s my personality. I’m definitely going to bring myself to Kentucky, but I wanted a little bit of tradition to what I’m wearing.”

Weir, who began riding English saddle when he was about 8, said he was on the fast track to becoming something in show jumping before focusing on figure skating.

“Who knows, maybe I’ll compete in the Summer Olympics for equestrian one day,” Weir joked.

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  1. 1historian - May 2, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    This clown and his lady will be clogging the airwaves for God only knows how many hours.

    Meanwhile – Ron Turcotte, who rode Riva Ridge and Secretariat to victories in the race but has been paralyzed from the waist down since a racing accident 36 years ago can’t get special treatment there, couldn’t even get in for the race last year.

    Want another reason why racing isn’t as popular as it used to be? I’ll tune in about 5 minutes before they open the gate.

  2. pizzedoff - May 3, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    “Cultural look”? More like downright freaky.

    historian, you are so right, Weir is a clown big time and is horribly irksome to watch. What happened to the dignity of the race? I’m turning the sound down every time he shows up. NBC what is wrong with you.

    As for Ron Turcotte who rode my all time favorite Triple Crown winner, Churchill Downs should be ashamed.

  3. movalleyrandy - May 3, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    Enough with the cross dresser. Perversion “in your face”. Thanks NBC

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