The previous Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who’ve for years supplied the cheery and chatty soundtrack to NBC’s protection of Olympic determine skating, took a starkly completely different tone when Kamila Valieva of Russia was on the ice within the ladies’s single quick program on Tuesday.
The place they’d usually supply commentary on numerous jumps and spins, or add insider particulars a few skater’s fashion and historical past, Lipinski and Weir as an alternative remained uncharacteristically quiet all through the efficiency by Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian skater on the middle of a doping scandal. Weir and Lipinski, former Olympians who’ve known as the game collectively because the 2014 Sochi Video games, spoke solely twice, in actual fact, and solely to notice sure strikes — and with none of the knowledgeable evaluation or emotion that often accompanies their commentary.
“All I really feel like I can say is that was the quick program of Kamila Valieva on the Olympics,” Weir mentioned after her routine ended. Talking for the opposite rivals, Lipinski reminded viewers of Valieva’s constructive check. “We should always not have seen this skate,” she mentioned.
“We’re so sorry it’s overshadowing your Olympics,” Weir chimed in.
Regardless of stumbling on her opening leap, a triple axel, Valieva went on to complete first within the quick program. She leads Russian teammate Anna Shcherbakova and a Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto heading into Thursday’s free skate.
Main into the occasion, Weir and Lipinski described on NBC the feelings they had been experiencing, which struck a private tone for the 2 former skilled determine skaters who themselves have competed on the Olympic stage. In 1998, Lipinski received the gold medal, beating the favorite, Michelle Kwan of america. Weir was a two-time Olympian.
Lipinski expressed disbelief as she watched Valieva heat up. “Seeing her on the Olympic ice proper now with every thing we found during the last week, I didn’t assume it was going to occur,” Lipinski mentioned. “And once more I don’t assume it ought to be taking place.”
Weir known as Valieva a “very vibrant spot” in already gifted Russian group, and mentioned that made the revelations of the previous week “a letdown.” The uncomfortable scenario, he mentioned, had compelled him to reassess his emotions concerning the competitors.
“I really feel so uncomfortable as a skater and a skating fan having to commentate her efficiency just because she shouldn’t be in a position to compete,” Weir mentioned. Lipinski agreed.
On social media and in interviews, Weir and Lipinski have criticized the choice to clear Valieva for competitors. However together with the frustration and outrage, Lipinski, who made her debut within the Olympics when she was 15, has additionally continued to notice that Valieva is only a youngster.
Weir posted a video on Twitter after the event, saying it was the “hardest occasion I’ve ever needed to cowl.”
“I wish to thanks all for supporting the skaters that ought to be within the competitors whose life work is one the road,” Weir mentioned.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/14/sports activities/olympics/johnny-weir-tara-lipinski-commentary-valieva.html Throughout Valieva’s Routine, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski Maintain Again Feedback however Not Emotions