Johnny Weir

Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski, Tanith Belbin join NBC Olympics coverage


Two-time Olympian Johnny Weir, Olympic champion Tara Lipinski and Olympic silver medalist Tanith Belbin will join NBC Olympics for its coverage through the Sochi Winter Games.

Weir, who announced his retirement Wednesday, and Lipinski will serve as figure skating analysts for NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage. Belbin will report for NBC Olympics’ Sports Desk and “The Olympic Zone” program.

Weir, noted enthusiast of all things Russian, won’t be competing at the Olympics for the first time since 2002. He’s a three-time national champion and 2008 World Championships bronze medalist.

“I get old,” Weir said on “TODAY.” “I have to say thank you and goodbye. … It’ll be hard not to be out there, and I’ll probably still get sick to my stomach and nervous and go through all the emotions of a competitor. But I’ll be able to support these young skaters and really teach the world what’s going on out there.”

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Weir finished fifth at the 2006 Olympics and sixth at the 2010 Olympics.

Weir, 29, could be covering two of his biggest rivals in Sochi — 2006 Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko and 2010 Olympic champion Evan Lysacek.

He has covered figure skating for Universal Sports in the past and is no stranger to TV, having starred in his own reality show, “Be Good Johnny Weir.”

Weir, who announced he was gay in January 2011, also commented on Russia’s anti-gay law.

“While this law is a terrible thing that you can’t be gay publicly in Russia, I plan to be there in full support of our brothers and sisters there and not be afraid,” Weir said. “If I get arrested, I get arrested. If not, not, great, but our presence is needed. For all the Olympians that worked so hard, a boycott is the worst thing you can do to these young people.”

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Lipinski, who became the youngest individual gold medalist in Olympic Winter Games history at 15 in 1998, also has worked for Universal Sports’ figure skating coverage.

Weir and Lipinski will appear on NBC’s coverage of Skate Canada on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

Belbin, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist in ice dancing with Ben Agosto, will present features for “The Olympic Zone,” a 30-minute daily show for NBC affiliates covering all aspects of the Games.

“Johnny, Tara and Tanith have entertained judges and fans alike with their skill, style and charisma,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “We’re confident those same characteristics will entertain Olympic viewers this February.”

Figure skating at the Sochi Olympics will begin Feb. 6, the night before the Opening Ceremony with the start of the new team competition.

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Tyson Fury and the Olympics

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28:  Tyson Fury celebrates victory over Christian Hammer in a Heavyweight Contest at the O2 Arena on February 28, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Tyson Fury defeated Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision Saturday to become the heavyweight champion of the world.

The two boxers had much different experiences with the Olympics.

Fury, a 6-foot-9 fighter named after Mike Tyson, hoped to compete at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. But countries are limited to one boxer per weight class, and David Price was chosen to represent Great Britain.

Fury had lost to Price in 2006 as an amateur.

“I knocked him down in the fight, but lost it on points,” Fury told The Sunday Telegraph in 2008. “It seemed nailed down that Price would be the superheavyweight fighting for Britain. I wasn’t selected because of politics.”

Price went on to claim the super heavyweight bronze medal at the 2008 Games.

Fury, a proud Irish Traveller who calls himself the “Gypsy Warrior,” also tried unsuccessfully to qualify to represent Ireland.

Shortly after the 2008 Olympics, Price turned professional, and Fury seemed destined to represent Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. But Fury decided to turn professional himself.

“It would have been great to try for the Olympic team and box in London in 2012, but I could see from the start that boxing politics was going to get in the way,” Fury said, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Klitschko won the Atlanta 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal.

He has said it would be “a dream” to compete at the 2016 Games, 20 years after his lone Olympic appearance. He will be 40 years old.

But Klitschko’s Olympic eligibility remains unclear.

In February, boxing’s international governing body (AIBA) stated that Klitschko “is not eligible for any of the qualifying paths” for the Rio Olympics. Then in October, AIBA’s communications department wrote in an email, “We have no comment at this stage concerning particular boxer presence at Rio 2016. The eligibility will be determined by December 4th 2015 and will be communicated accordingly by each National Olympic Committee.”

MORE: First boxer named to 2016 U.S. Olympic team

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Aspen World Cup slalom

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With a slalom win today in Aspen, Colo., Mikaela Shiffrin broke some of the barriers she had been chasing.

“I don’t know if the stars will ever align like that again,” Shiffrin said in a media conference after being told she won with the biggest margin of victory in the history of women’s slalom since 1968: 3.07 seconds. “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

En route to her fourth consecutive slalom World Cup title – which would tie the record for the most with Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider from 1992-95 – she became the first female skier to win four World Cup slalom races in a row since Austria’s Marlies Schild did it in the 2011-12 season.

In addition, Shiffrin became the first female skier from the U.S. to win a slalom World Cup race in Aspen. And she’s now tied with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall with total slalom World Cup victories.

“I was pissed after I made that ridiculous mistake yesterday,” Shiffrin said to media, referencing yesterday’s giant slalom crash. Both her and Lindsey Vonn crashed and did not finish in Aspen’s giant slalom. “I tried to use that anger today.”

Shiffrin called the mistake a “brainfart” and Vonn dismissed it because “giant slalom isn’t [her] strongest event.”

But, Shiffrin added that she already has her mind set on tomorrow, where she races slalom again, on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The complete of the Olympic sports schedule is here.

“I just as quickly have to go back and settle in,” she said. “Tomorrow is a new race. I have to find a different motivation and try to take the same mentality and keep fighting.”

Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second behind Shiffrin, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter.

By finishing behind Shiffrin in Aspen, Zuzulova extends her slalom World Cup podium finish streak to four.

Hansdotter has the second-most second place World Cup slalom finishes at 13 total, including today’s race. Only Pernilla Wiberg, of Sweden, has more with a total of 14.

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