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The breakout stars from the Sochi Winter Olympics aren’t the athletes who won the medals, but retired skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. The duo were a big hit when they called the ice skating events and NBC has decided to bring their talents to the spotlight once again for the Kentucky Derby.
— Tara Lipinski (@taralipinski) February 17, 2014
NBC said that the two will cover the fashion aspect of the event and will likely be very impressed by the hats the rich and famous wear to the race. Their role will also be to help bring in the female audience, who already make up half of the race’s viewership, the network said, reports Entertainment Weekly.
“We’ve always loved loud fashion and sort of bonded over it,” Lipinski told EW. “The whole Olympics experience was a bit of a surprise. We came in and were focused on doing a good job as rookies. But we’re young and we like to have fun. The fashion was specifically for us every day and it was like,’ Oh, people are watching. This is fun.’”
This isn’t the first time that Lipinski and Weir have worked together since Sochi. Access Hollywood also hired them to comment on fashion at the Oscars in March.
The Kentucky Derby will also mark the debut of former Good Morning America anchor Josh Elliott as a member of the NBC Sports team. John Miller, chief marketing officer, NBC Sports Group, told The Hollywood Reporter last week that it is the perfect event to show off Elliott’s talents.
“He can do a mix of features, and it is our desire to expose him to a large crowd,” Miller told THR. “The Kentucky Derby will be the highest-rated sporting event in the second quarter for the network.”
Although the derby itself lasts just three minutes, NBC has three hours of programming leading up to it planned, with the first hour focused on the entertainment element. The 2013 race pulled in 16.2 million viewers, the most in 23 years.
The 2014 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is set for May 3.
image via Twitter from Tara Lipinski