There’s no question who most Americans think are the authorities on figure skating in America, and it’s a pair of Olympic medalists in Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. As known for their chemistry on-screen as well as their commentary, they have found a terrific balance in how to deal with the unprecedented situation involving Russian skater and gold medal favorite Kamila Valieva
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir weigh in on Kamila Valiyeva's short program. pic.twitter.com/LdjY4LQOvv— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 16, 2022
“We should not have seen this skate,” is as challenging thing as can be said while still recognizing that a 15-year-old is likely more the victim as the perpetrator.
Lipinski going on to acknowledge Valieva’s undeniable talent is also the right thing to do. The child that is performing, and sometimes in all of this it’s tough to remember she is a child, is clearly a once-in-a-generation performer. You can draw the line between the competitor and the fairness of the competition.
Valieva isn’t even competing for Russia because of the largest state-sponsored pattern of systematic doping in the history of organized sport. And as former athletes to know this is basically a rigged event, to the point the IOC has pre-canceled the medal ceremony.
The commentary needed to be incisive and fair. Both Lipinski and Weir hit the mark perfectly here.