Every four years, the Summer Olympics take place, and this year the 2016 games are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and running from Friday, Aug. 5 through Sunday, Aug. 21. Tons of people flock to the events, including commentators from different networks reporting on the headlines and scoop of the day. Among those individuals will be a familiar face, 2016 Summer Olympics commentator Tara Lipinski. While talking with Bustle via phone, Lipinski dishes about her gig with NBC, which she'll be undertaking with her best friend and fellow former professional figure skater, Johnny Weir. And yes, it's going to be as fun as it sounds. "Since ice skating is not part of this Olympics, we will not be analysts," Lipinski says laughing. "We will not be commentating any sports."
Lipinski describes the chance to cover the Olympics with her BFF as "one of the coolest experiences." As she says, "You know, we’ve already been to Rio shooting some stuff, some features, and I think our role will really lend to the Tara and Johnny unique take on things. And we are Olympians, so hopefully, we’ll be able to give insight to the fans and viewers of what an Olympics is really like outside of the arena."
According to the 34-year-old star, their coverage is going to be so much more than the day's events and different than what other networks are doing. Basically, they're going to be the color commentators. "It will be a lot about the fashion, the fun, and the culture, sort of bouncing around Rio," she explains. "We’ll have many different jobs that we’ll be doing. So, I don’t think that it’s one defined role."
This isn't the first time Lipinski and Weir have hosted the games together. In 2014, they acted as commentators for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The two became the breakout stars of the events. The proof is in the fact that NBC keeps asking them back. In addition to the upcoming Summer Olympics, they will also act as announcers for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Clearly, they are doing something right.
One would think it has to be a little bittersweet working the events, but not competing. Since she isn't part of the Olympics as an athlete anymore, she has to miss it a little bit, right? Wrong. Lipinski is extremely content with purely commentating and no longer competing. (FYI, in 1998, she became the youngest Olympic figure skating gold medalist at just 15.) She explains,
"No, I really feel that it’s, obviously I loved competing and I love looking back on my career and feeling that I was able to experience that. But I have to say that the best part about this new gig that Johnny and I have is that we get to be a part of it and we get to follow these skaters lives all year long, and really invest ourselves in a sport that we love so much."
As much as she adored skating and all of the experiences that came with it, there's less pressure now and Lipinski can have even more fun compared to when she was skating. She admits with a laugh,
"When we’re sitting up there and we’re still performing in a sense, the pressure, even though it’s live television, the pressure is a lot less. You look out at those skaters ready to start their program and their music goes on and we look at each other and say, 'Thank God we don’t have to do that.'"
I can't say I blame her. Not to mention, Lipinsk is pretty lucky that she has gotten to experience the Olympics from both sides — as a competitor and a commentator. She truly is a winner in more ways than one.