I will never forget being in first grade and watching 15-year-old Tara Lipinski skate her way to gold in 1998. I loved ice-skating at the time and was constantly inspired by Tara, Kristi Yamaguchi, Katarina Witt, and Michelle Kwan.
Now, more than 20 years later, it’s still a thrill to hear her on television, this time paired with two-time Olympian Johnny Weir, providing astute and at times hysterical commentary for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Johnny was the first to admit just how important his friendship with Tara is in the crazy world of skating. Even though Tara and Johnny never skated together at the same time, they’re glad to have become friends now.
“It’s so rare in this life to find a friend that you could actually call a true friend, someone you could put down as your ‘In Case of Emergency,'” Johnny told GQ. “Somebody that would be the godmother or godfather of your firstborn. Especially coming from this very cutthroat and backstabbing sort of world that Tara and I come from.”
Despite the drama in the world of figure skating, Tara and Johnny admit that they really are friends — even when cameras aren’t rolling.
“I think the funniest thing that people have ever asked me was: Are you guys actually friends?” Johnny remarked. “Why would we have to lie about being friends?”
Tara agreed, confirming their friendship is special and real, saying, “When we got back from the Sochi [Winter Olympics], that was the first thing — people would be like, ‘Well, is this a real friendship?’ We’d be like: ‘Of course!'”
Johnny even mentioned how Tara helped him through his difficult divorce back in 2014, which brought them even closer together.
In addition to dishing about their friendship, they couldn’t help but discuss all their fashion choices for the Olympics. It turns out that both former skaters have a tendency to overpack when they travel!
Tara explained that the pair never like to wear the same outfit twice when going live on TV, so they “brought 13 suitcases each” for the Pyeongchang Olympics. Talk about being prepared!
When asked who takes longer to get ready for events, Tara quickly said it was Johnny before he clarified, “My hair takes longer than Tara’s hair. But Tara’s makeup takes longer than my makeup. So we kind of even out.”
It certainly sounds like those two have a unique and beautiful friendship.
Please SHARE this sweet story and watch the video below to learn more about Tara Lipinski’s beautiful wedding where Johnny was, of course, her “bridesman!”
CORRECTIONS: February 12, 2018
An earlier version of this story stated that Tara Lipinski won a gold medal in 1997 and also mentioned the Winter Olympics being held in Pyeongchang, Korea. They are in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Tara won the gold medal during the 1998 Winter Olympics.
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