Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are taking their commentary careers to the next level—and they have the hats to prove it. Four years after NBC paired the two former Olympic skaters with Terry Gannon to serve as figure-skating commentators at the Sochi games, the former Olympians will return to the Kentucky Derby where they will offer commentary during NBC’s live broadcast from Churchill Downs.
Lipinski and Weir, who most recently served as commentators during the figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, have been attending the Kentucky Derby together since 2014. The dynamic duo previously worked as Kentucky Derby commentators in 2015 and 2016. Now they’re back and better than ever.
Weir told People magazine that he loves the “pomp and circumstance” of the high-profile horse racing event, explaining that he especially likes that spectators “bring out the pastels, the flowers.”
Lipinski also noted the fashionista aspect of the Derby, telling People, “Everyone’s excited to get dressed up and wear their hats and summer dresses and have fun with it. It’s the ultimate dress-up day.”
While the Kentucky Derby is the ultimate day to don a big hat, no one can compare to Weir. Johnny Weir previously made a splash when he showed up at Churchill Downs wearing a hat made of roses in the shape of a horse head. He also once sported a white and gold crown adorned with a three-foot pink braid down his back. An insider told Kentucky’s Courier-Journal Johnny’s 2018 Derby hat will be equally “daring” and maybe even “explosive.”
Johnny works on his Kentucky Derby hat every year with designer Kerin Rose Gold and they are always based on a theme related to the Kentucky-based horse race. In case you need a refresher, in 2014 Weir wore a white feather-topped Pegasus hat, in 2015 his theme was all about roses and mint juleps, and in 2016 Johnny’s My Little Pony hat made its debut. For 2018, Weir teased that his hat’s theme is “Triple Crown.”
“Unfortunately now I’ve set precedent for my hats with the Kentucky Derby,” Weir admitted. It’s been really hard to one up myself.”
While Johnny Weir works with his designer, Tara Lapinski has partnered with featured milliner Christine A. Moore to create three fascinators for the weekend event. Lipinksi told the Journal that while she and Johnny love the race, they love the fashion at the Derby just as much.
“It’s a time that Johnny and I get to play with our fashion and really have fun with it,” the skating legend said.
In addition to his top-secret hat, Johnny Weir will wear a tweet-powered brooch in the shape of a small horse. When social media fans use the hashtag #WatchMeNeighNeigh, the horse-shaped pin will gallop and illuminate. The last time Weir wore the brooch on Derby Day, it was activated more than 6 million times.
You can see Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir talking hats at the Kentucky Derby in the video below.
Watch Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir during NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage beginning Saturday, May 5 at 2:30 pm ET.