Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 235
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Skate, Don't Hate: Johnny Weir Shakes Off Critics Of Harsh Analysis

Weir (r) said he would not be able to do his job without telling the truth about every aspect of figure skating
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NBC's Johnny Weir took to Twitter on Saturday to "clear up just one thing about how critical he was during the first figure skating events earlier this week -- and what to expect" later in the Games, according to Nina Mandell of USA TODAY. Weir tweeted, "I’m a commentator, not a 'complimentator.' Explaining falls and rough skates is hard because I have been that skater, and truth can hurt. But I would never be able to do my job without telling the truth about every aspect of figure skating and the performances you’ll see" (USATODAY.com, 2/10). GLAMOUR's Erin Reimel wrote social media "quickly exploded with comments about the pair's brutally honest reactions" to Thursday's coverage, while other users "were shook at just how brutal they were" (GLAMOUR.com, 2/10). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal wrote if social media is any indication, some viewers think Weir and fellow analyst Tara Lipinski were "mean for their honest criticism on NBC as figure skaters stumbled, slipped and fell Thursday night." However, it is "better to get the straightforward insights of knowledgeable critics than be fed puffy platitudes about tough breaks from an apologist playing publicist" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/10).

STANDING APART: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes Weir and Lipinski are the "best part of NBC’s coverage." They are "intelligent, charismatic, honest, unafraid, funny." Everything about them is "completely mesmerizing." Jones: "I’m far from a figure skating fan, but figure skating has become must-see TV because of Lipinski and Weir." NBC "has struck gold" with the duo (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/12). The AP's David Bauder wrote Weir and Lipinski have been "solid, with less of the 'look at me!' vibe of Sochi." They have "done their homework, yet they haven't forgotten that many of their viewers watch skating infrequently." Additionally, neither are "afraid to be critical" (AP, 2/11). In Chicago, Thompson, Rosenthal & Bannon wrote Weir and Lipinski "came to Pyeongchang to critique figure skaters, not sing them lullabies" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/12). In Dallas, Barry Horn writes the duo "may emerge as bigger stars than any other skaters they'll be talking about." Viewers will "either love Weir and Lipinski or hate them" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/10). The N.Y. Times' James Poniewozik tweeted, "I support Mean Johnny Weir. He's an announcer, not the skaters' damn publicist." Altitude Sports' Vic Lombardi: "Lipinski and Johnny Weir are the best analysts in sports. Not close." ABC's Meghan McCain: "I will always, always need more Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski in my life. ... Waiting between Olympics for them is too long!" CBS Sports' Pete Blackburn: "Idea: A TV subscription service that just broadcasts sporting events normally, but always has Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski commentating."

WHAT'D YOU SAY? U.S. figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani yesterday were "having none" of NBC reporter Andrea Joyce's assessment of their routine. Joyce prefaced her first interview question by saying the Americans were "not at (their) best today." But Maia said that she and her brother "thought they skated pretty well." Alex said that they were "surprised by the judging" (AP, 2/11).