Next month, nearly half of all Americans will tune in to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics, and Figure Skating is expected to be the most popular sport among viewers. Here in Delaware, ratings for the broadcast are likely to be even higher.
Johnny Weir, who attended Newark High School and the University of Delaware before finding fame on the ice, will be among the cadre of experts that NBC Sports has assembled to broadcast the 2018 Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea. Joining some of the biggest names in sports broadcasting and analysis, Weir is teaming with gold medalist Tara Lipinski to lead the coverage of one of the Winter Games’ biggest draws.
Johnny taught himself to skate on frozen Amish cornfields in nearby Coatesville, PA when he was 12 years old. Despite coming to the sport at a relatively late age, he excelled. By the age of 17, he was the 2001 World Junior Champion. In 2004, he became senior US National Champion and successfully defended the title in 2005.
The following year, after winning his third, consecutive national championship, Weir secured a spot on the US Olympic Team bound for Torino, Italy. With strong performances on the ice and smooth, confident appearances during broadcast interviews, Johnny made a mark with judges, journalists and fans alike.
In 2008, Johnny continued to be an important part of US and World Figure Skating. He was the only Team USA member to medal at the World Championships, and was named the Reader’s Choice Skater of the Year. Two years later, Weir was again named to the US Olympic Team and traveled to Vancouver, Canada. His performances both on and off the ice continued to win him fans — and earned him his second Reader’s Choice Award for Skater of the Year.
Johnny Weir’s competitive skating bona fides are not the only reason that NBC tapped him to be a member of its elite 2018 Olympics broadcast team. His passions and pursuits outside the rink ensure that he’ll bring to the broadcast booth an interesting perspective and a style that has already proved popular among viewers.
Since 2010, he has continued to dazzle in performances on the ice, and has worked to support a range of charitable causes off the ice, as well. He has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign, selected as the Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles PRIDE Parade, and honored at the Ice Theater of New York’s “Dare to be Different” Gala. He served as a US Goodwill Sporting Ambassador to Japan, won the Delaware Valley Legacy Fund National Hero Award, and was among the first inductees to Chicago’s National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
Johnny’s impressive resume garnered the attention of the executives at NBC, who hired him as an analyst for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. But with dozens of other well-spoken, telegenic, former skating champions eager for a spot in front of the camera, a larger role for Weir was not guaranteed. However, soon after the Sochi Games closed, The New York Times reported: “For the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, one of NBC’s priorities is to retain the services of the two announcing stars to have emerged from Sochi: the figure skating analysts Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. They talked for hours, delightfully and insightfully.”
Since then, Weir and Lipinski have teamed to provide Oscar fashion commentary for Access Hollywood, the TODAY Show, and the Kentucky Derby. Johnny has served as the executive producer and host of Sundance Productions’ To Russia with Love, nominated as Outstanding Documentary at the 2015 GLAAD Media Awards. In 2016, Weir and Lipinski launched their podcast “Tara and Johnny”, and Johnny continues to grow his presence on both social and traditional media, including Instagram (@johnnygweir, 243,000 followers); Twitter (@JohnnyGWeir, 342,0000 followers); Snapchat (@TaraandJohnny); and the Web (johnnygweir.com).
Despite his global travels in pursuit of his many interests — skating and performing, fashion, human rights, and LGBT causes, to name a few — Johnny Weir’s formative days in Delaware keep him connected to the First State. In fact, just last year he headlined the Skating Club of Wilmington’s Spring Ice Show. If you missed him there, be sure to catch him next month on NBC during its airing of the 23rd Winter Olympics.