Why Do Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir Host The Kentucky Derby? Hint: It's Because They're Awesome
Tara Lipinksi and Johnny Weir are back for another round of hosting. The dynamic ice-skating duo will cover the Kentucky Derby as fashion experts on Friday, May 6 and will be a part of NBC's Derby coverage on Saturday, May 7. Though I'm certain — given their history, and general wonderfulness – that no-ones complaining about seeing this pair return for another gig, a question might arise: Why do Tara and Johnny host The Kentucky Derby anyway? Weir's a three-time figure skating champion, and Lipinski's an Olympic figure skating gold medalist. They don't necessarily have a connection to horses right?
In 2014, the two stole the spotlight as commentators for the Winter Olympics, and later as red carpet reporters at 2014 Academy Awards. That same year, NBC decided to hire them as fashion correspondents at the 2014 Kentucky Derby, and then again in 2015. Smart decisions, as the two share an impeccable sense of style and humor, drawing in a crowd of people who might not necessarily tune in otherwise.
Just because it's not winter, and just because there's no ice rink around, doesn't mean Lipinski and Weir can't still get some time on air. NBC knows this. They also know how to make use of the duo's other talents. Talents that include having great chemistry, hilarious commentary, and a penchant for some pretty amazing hats.
Plus, coincidentally, these two do have some history with the racing world. According to NY Daily News, Lipinski rode horses in her youth, and Weir competed in equestrian events before he made the move to figure skating. In fact, Weir even attended 2010 Kentucky Derby as a fan.
But for Lipinski and Weir, it's not really about the horses anyway. It's about the experience of it all. Last year, Weir told People "We're not commentating on the horses. And this event is just so much more than that. You have the hats and the fashion and the mint juleps, and it's just such a big, fun, social event."
So the reason Lipinski and Weir host the Kentucky Derby isn't necessarily because they are horse aficionados, or lifetime betters in the Derby. It's because they understand the other important aspects of the race — i.e. the fashion, the alcohol, and the social aspects. Oh, and the hats. Again, can't forget the hats.
Tune in to the Kentucky Derby and watch the pair in all their glory on NBC, May 6 and 7.